Skip to Content

Cold case: Salinas 18-year-old gunned down in 2002


SALINAS, Calif. (KION) This week we revisit a cold case that has led a Salinas mother to turn her grief into action following the death of her 18-year-old son.

Debbie Aguilar remembers November 16th 2002 very clearly.

"He was killed with multiple gunshot wounds. Did he suffer was one of the most horrible long did it last?"

Her son Stephen was just 18 when he was fatally shot on his way back from a Salinas 7-Eleven after buying snacks with a friend.

She says Stephen was polite, loving, had no criminal history and was ready to leave Salinas for greener pastures, and head to Silicon Valley for school. But he was never able to.

"He had already been accepted. He got the letter. Unfortunately he was already gone to be able to read the letter. We got the letter a few days later," says Aguilar.

And still, 18 years later, there's not much closure for the family.

"As far as investigative leads, we're still hopeful that we can close this case but as of right now, we've run out of investigative leads," says Salinas Police Detective John McNeil.

But Debbie is a mother on a mission and hasn't let the lack of leads stop her. In fact, she's picked up speed creating a support group for others who have lost loved ones to violence.

"I don't just advocate for Stephen. It's not about Stephen anymore. It's not just about my pain. It's about all the other families that are suffering."

If you have any details on this case, contact Salinas Police. You can remain anonymous.

Crime / Monterey County / Salinas / Top Stories

Mary Coleman

Mary Coleman is a morning anchor and managing editor at KION News Channel 5/46.


Leave a Reply