The family of Ruben Emilio Sanchez III said they are not going to let vandalism deter them from seeking justice for Sanchez.
Posters recently put up near the small railroad bridge at Gordon Road and North Sixth Avenue asking anyone with information on Sanchez’s death to call authorities were torn down. And it’s not the first time, said Alexis Martin, Sanchez’s sister.
They’ll keep putting up more signs.
“We’re not going to give up,” Martin said. “He’s worth way more than that.”
Sanchez, 32, was found dead on the railroad tracks the night of May 10 by people walking near the area’s homeless camps. Police were earlier called to the area for a report of shots fired, but found nothing.
An autopsy determined that Sanchez was shot to death, and Yakima County Coroner Jim Curtice said Sanchez’s death is considered a homicide.
Martin said the family put up a poster on the east bridge railing last week, with Sanchez’s picture and a plea for people to call either the police department or Yakima County Crime Stoppers if they had information.
That sign was torn down, Martin said, but was put back up Wednesday on a post near the bridge, with a second sign stapled to a retaining wall on the west side, along with flowers.
On Thursday, the sign on the post was missing, while the second sign was on the ground, torn in several pieces. Martin said if it had been torn down once, it could be dismissed as an act of juvenile vandalism, but having it happen twice suggests someone doesn’t want the message getting out.
“Whatever they’re trying to do, they’re trying to shut it down,” Martin said. “That’s why they’re ripping them off.”
Sanchez’s family has already put up flyers on North First Street near the Union Gospel Mission, which Martin said was one of Sanchez’s usual haunts. And she said the posters will continue to go back
Yakima Police Capt. Jay Seely said he was not aware of the signs being torn down and would let detectives know about the signs’ destruction.
“We appreciate (the family’s) help with that,” Seely said. “We’re looking for evidence that may help the case.”
Detectives are following up on potential evidence and interviewing people who camp in the area, Seely said.
Sanchez was the fifth homicide victim in Yakima, and the 11th in the county this year.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Yakima police at 509-575-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980. Tips can also be submitted online at crimestoppersyakco.org or through the P3 app.