SAN ANTONIO — On Saturday, Ana Maria Carpio held a glass vase filled with flowers. She carried them to her son's gravesite and set them down next to wrapped gifts and banners reading "Happy Birthday."
It was a birthday celebration for a young man who is deeply missed.
"My Sebastian was very charismatic. He's a very handsome young man," Carpio said.
Ana Maria Carpio is Sebastian Carpio’s mother. Her only child, she said he was kind, humble and had big aspirations. He wanted to attend the University of Texas at Austin and study mechanical engineering.
He would have been 19 on Saturday. Instead, Carpio joined other San Antonio families and friends who gathered from across the community to remember their loved ones on National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, which is recognized on Sept. 25.
"It provides comfort and it provides strength," Carpio said about the celebration. Family and friends gathered at the gravesite in support.
Last September, Sebastian Carpio went on a bike ride and didn’t return home. His body was found burned in the back of a car days after his mother reported him missing.
"He was just a couple of days shy from his 18th birthday," Carpio said.
One person has been arrested for her son’s death, but the suspect is a minor. A motive remains unclear.
"This individual should have been tried as an adult from the beginning. He was 16 at the time. He committed the offense and turned 17 just a couple of days," Carpio said.
She wants justice for her son.
"There are still more people out there and we all know it," Carpio said.
Several families gathered outside San Antonio Public Safety Headquarters for a vigil, and emphasized there's no justice until they get closure in the form of answers.
Data from the City of San Antonio shows 94 people have been murdered so far this year compared to 128 in 2020. A little further back, in 2009, Norma Rodriguez's son, Paul De Leon, was shot and killed.
"He was a 17-year-old little boy, had a whole life ahead of him," Rodriguez said.
She said they won’t stop until the people responsible are found.
"As long as I have a breath in me, I've got to continue to do this as hard as it is. I have to be his voice," Rodriguez said.
"The most difficult meeting I go to all year, having to talk to folks that have lost a child," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said.
He addressed the grieving families during the vigil, telling them to remain hopeful.
"It could be five, 10, 20 years if your case hasn't been solved yet," he said. "Don't despair, because there is a lot of examples where cases (are) solved years later."
Anyone with information regarding a homicide case that is yet to be solved is asked to call 210-224-STOP.