Family of man who died after Oxnard soccer game brawl demands justice, asks for public's help

Misael Sanchez died two weeks after he was assaulted during a fight involving soccer players and spectators at Oxnard High School.

BySid Garcia and ABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Thursday, July 28, 2022
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A family is demanding justice for their loved one who died two weeks after he was assaulted during a fight involving players and spectators on a soccer field at Oxnard High School.

OXNARD, Calif. (KABC) -- A family is demanding justice for their loved one who died two weeks after he was assaulted during a fight involving players and spectators on a soccer field at Oxnard High School.

Police say Misael Sanchez of Port Hueneme was playing soccer when he was assaulted by several people as the fight broke out the morning of July 10 on the soccer field. Sanchez, a biomedical scientist who was working on his doctorate, died Monday.

Sanchez's family held a press conference Thursday morning pleading with the public to come forward and share more information about the attack.

The mass fight apparently started with a dispute between two adult soccer teams over a referee's decision. Players began brawling and some spectators joined in as well, police say.

RELATED: Soccer player dies weeks after brawl at Oxnard school field

Police say Sanchez was assaulted by multiple people. Shortly after the fight, police arrested Berlin Melgara, 46, for felony assault. Melgara has been released from custody while Oxnard police continue investigating.

"The Ventura County District Attorney's Office did review the case, as well as our detectives with the Oxnard Police Department, and determined that there was absolutely additional follow up that was needed," said Oxnard police Cmdr. Alex Arnett.

Close to 50 family and friends gathered at the family attorney's office in Ventura, pleading for videos and eyewitnesses to come forward.

Sanchez had a love for soccer and continuing his education. He was working on his Ph.D. in biomedical science at the time of his death.

"He was the one that showed everyone in this family that it is possible, and that with hard work, anything can be done and accomplished as he showed us," Sanchez's cousin Eric Ambriz said at the press conference.

Guadalupe Sanchez, the victim's father, said his son didn't deserve to die the way he did.

"Misael's death was not an accident. We don't wish this pain on any family," Guadalupe said through an interpreter. "We want justice for our son and ask for your help."

Oxnard police say they are waiting for autopsy results from the coroner's office. They say the results will determine if the case becomes a murder investigation.

Police are still looking for more suspects and more video of the fight.

Anyone who may have video or other information is asked to contact Detective Carey Everhart at (805) 486-6228 or carey.everhart@oxnardpd.org, or Detective Jaime Miranda at (805) 385-7547 or jaime.miranda@oxnardpd.org.

Anonymous information can be provided to Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Video of the incident can also be uploaded anonymously at this Oxnard Police Department portal.