Santa Maria - North County

District Attorney recognizes victims of violence

Awards during National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Anthony Ibarra's mom speaks out

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - "It broke my heart, I wasn't the same for a long time," says Maria Navarro about the death of her son Anthony Ibarra. 

Not a day goes by that she doesn't think of him. 

She describes him as a hard working and loving son who meant the world to her. 

"It was very hard, it was really hard, traumatizing, horrific, there was times I couldn't get out of bed," she says. 

Her family is still dealing with hard times after Ibarra was tortured and killed in 2013.

Navarro sat through weeks of trail hearing gruesome details about what happened to her son. As a result, five people were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in what became known as the U-Haul Murder Trial. 

"He didn't deserve to die the way he died," says his mom. 

On Wednesday, there was a reason to celebrate Ibarra and what he meant to his family. 

"I'm proud of you Anthony, I know he's here and I know he's happy I'm strong," says Navarro. 

She received the Citizen of Courage Award for her resilience after her son's death. The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office honoring her for National Crime Victims' Rights Week. 

"All year long we work with people, the people of Santa Barbara County and our role is to support victims and seek justice for all," says District Attorney Joyce Dudley. 

It's justice that law enforcement and other members of the community work together to find for families They too were recognized for their commitment at the event.

Navarro says she will always carry the memory of her son close to her in everything she does.  She will continue to draw strength from what happened to her and her family.

"It would make him real happy that he would see me strong and make it through and help his brothers," she says. 

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