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Local leaders push to solve educator's death

January 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Family members were joined by elected officials and local educators in El Monte Monday. They want the U.S. and Mexico to solve the violent death of El Monte school board member Bobby Salcedo.Despite pledges of cooperation between the two countries, there have been no arrests and no official suspects of the execution-style murder of Salcedo and five other men.

Graciela Salcedo's pain has not diminished in the three weeks since her son was killed.

Graciela says she still wakes up everyday, in disbelief that her youngest son was a victim of the epidemic of violence sweeping through Mexico.

Bobby Salcedo was a vice principal at El Monte High School and a member of the local school board. He was visiting his wife's family in Durango, Mexico over the Christmas break. On New Year's Eve, the two were with a group of her friends at a restaurant bar, when armed gunmen broke in. The 33-year-old Salcedo and the five other men at his table were abducted, then later found shot to death on the outskirts of town.

"I was very, very shocked to hear about what happened to him," said Congresswoman Judy Chu at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Salcedo's family stood alongside Chu as she outlined the steps being taken to solve Bobby's murder.

"I can tell you that the attention that the case has received in the media and amongst the highest government officials on both sides of the border is actually paying off. There is some progress in the investigation and it does give us hope," said Chu.

Chu said the officials with the U.S. government are working with Mexico to help solve the murder. Currently, the FBI is providing assistance to local authorities in Mexico, but Chu wants the Mexican federal government to take over the investigation.

"We just have to do everything that we can to make sure that this murder is brought to justice," said Chu.

The FBI is assisting with forensic experts, which is welcome news to Bobby's family.

"In other cases, that hasn't been the case, so I think for them to take that step is positive," said Carlos Salcedo, Bobby's brother.

Chu said that Mexican authorities in Durango describe the case as simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that no one sitting at Salcedo's table had any ties to organized crime.