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Family Loses Home in Canyon Fire

Carlos Rodriguez

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DEL PUERTO CANYON – The SCU Lightning Complex Fire in Del Puerto Canyon has consumed several structures, including the home of a family of eight.

Dale and Angela Holbert, along with their six children, received the news that they had lost their home to the fire on August 18th. The family just recently welcomed a baby girl three months ago.

The family was away from home at the time, so thankfully no one was harmed. A GoFundMe campaign was set up for the family to help get them on their feet.

“I find it ironic that I am sitting here staring at the campfire trying to gather my thoughts about losing our house (we just put so much work in to finish the inside of before the baby came) to a fire just today,” Angela Holbert said in a Facebook post linked to the GoFundMe page. “We appreciate the prayers and encouragement and kind offers for help that have come to us”

As of Saturday morning, the SCU Lightning Complex in Del Puerto Canyon and neighboring regions burned nearly 292,000 acres. The fire affected at least five counties including Stanislaus, Alameda and Santa Clara among others and was only ten percent contained. Smoke from the fire drifted across the region, blanketing the skies with unhealthy particulate matter. The fire ranked the third largest in the history of the state.

While news of the loss was difficult for the Holbert family, they tried to remain positive and optimistic. “God is good all the time and this time is no different. We are safe and we have our hope in Christ who gives us strength. Material things can be replaced. Our salvation in Christ cannot be taken away We are together and our kids are safe. That is what is most important.”

If you would like to donate to the Holbert Family via GoFundMe, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

Carlos Rodriguez is an Emmy Award winning photojournalist specializing in public safety and natural disasters. His passion for local news stems from a deep commitment to his community, with a selfless mission to inform the citizens of the valley. As he worked on assignment for 19 days at the devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, California, he spent most of his time helping survivors contact their loved ones to let them know they were ok. Carlos is a veteran of Univision, FOX, and Telemundo TV stations and a native of Modesto, California.

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Family Seeks Justice in Strawberry Fields Park Murder

Gaby Muro

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Police cars block Malik Avenue during a shooting investigation on January 11th, 2021.

CERES – A 17 year old boy was charged in the January murder of Miguel Angel Peña of Ceres, who was shot at Strawberry Fields Park and died days later at a hospital.

“I have questions of why,” Fabiola said. Her family could not make any sense of why anyone would do something like this to her brother Sebastián as he was known by his loved ones.

“I think we were full of frustration,” she added. “We have no answers and we wanted to know what was going on.”

Sebastián’s loss is a further blow to her family since the loss of her mother Lupita, who passed away only a couple months prior from cancer. The loss of both of their loved ones have left her relatives in deep depression and uncontrollable anxiety.

“He didn’t just hurt someone,” Fabiola said of the accused. “He hurt a whole family, friends and others.”

Fabiola described her brother as hard working and family oriented. Often working throughout the day with her father or brother. Together they worked in landscaping yards, power washing, or construction jobs.

“What I’m going to miss the most is his caringness,” Fabiola said of her brother. “He always did more for everyone else than he did for himself, and he would always put other people before himself.”

Fabiola said her family has found peace in the thought that her brother and mother are together, and that her family is now focusing on finding justice for Sebastián. They understand the road is long with an expected court case, and are looking forward to being advocates for her brother.

“Me and my other four siblings will speak on behalf of Sebastián, and make sure he gets the justice that he deserves.”

Asuzena Peña, another of Sebastián’s sisters, added that they are glad the suspect turned himself in, but are looking forward to justice being served.

She said her family won’t be satisfied and won’t rest “Until he is trialed and imprisoned for life.” They don’t want another killing they described as ruthless and without thinking.

One day at a time, one step at a time is how the Peña family describes how they will proceed. Through family and through their faith.

“God’s timing is perfect,” Fabiola explained. “It was about to be three months since this happened, and we got a sign. Hopefully this helps, and everything moves faster.”

The arrest happened Wednesday, according to a press release by the Ceres Police Department. The suspect, who according to authorities turned himself in, was booked into Juvenile Hall and faces charges including murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and robbery.

Because he is only 17, the suspect’s identity was not released. Police did say he was from Modesto, however and that the investigation is ongoing.

The shooting originally occurred on January 11th near the area of Malik Avenue and Hackett Road. Sebastián was struck by gunfire along with another passenger he was with in a vehicle. The bullets were fired from a passing car, and struck several neighboring homes. A second round of gunshots were fired as the vehicle drove off. The incident was captured on several home surveillance cameras.

Sebastián was taken home and dropped off by those he was with. He was found by his loved ones, suffering from his injuries in the front yard. Police and medics responded and he was taken to a hospital where he fought for his life, but he died a few days later.

The incident has left Sebastián’s family shattered, a feeling that his sister Fabiola described Thursday afternoon after receiving word that someone was finally being held accountable.

Sebastián was 18 when his life was taken. He is survived by his father Javier, and siblings Javier Jr, Goretty, Jonathan, Asuzena and Fabiola.

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Teen Shot, Crashes into Residence

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – A 14 year old boy was taken to the hospital after being shot Wednesday afternoon.

At about 1:33pm officers responded to the 8500 block of Acapulco Way for a report of a person shot. Authorities said the victim was driving in the area when two suspects approached on foot and shot at him.

The victim was hit and drove off, colliding into the yard of a nearby residence. He was taken to a hospital to be treated. Police said the victim was expected to survive.

No motive was available, but police believe the suspects to be two black male juveniles. No further description was released.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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Two People Reported Shot, Police Investigate

Carlos Rodriguez

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STOCKTON – Police responded to a report of two people shot early Monday evening.

The incident was reported shortly before 7:00pm near the intersection of East 8th and Anne Streets. Early reports indicated two people were struck by gunfire.

Responding officers were unable to locate victims in the area, they had apparently transported to a hospital via private vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact Crime Stoppers at (209) 946-0600 where callers can remain anonymous.

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