Remembering Sylvia

Reporter Amanda Baumfeld, who has been covering the Christmas Eve Massacre since day one caught up with Sylvia Pardo’s best frend, a Pomona woman who shared her memories Monday. Here’s the top of the story:

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COVINA – Roxanne Jauregui talked to her best friend Sylvia Pardo nearly every day for the last 30 years.

Monday she remained unable to cope with the fact that Sylvia is gone. So, Jauregui continues to leave messages on a cell phone owned by Sylvia trying to hold onto their daily routine.

“I continue to talk to her as if she was still here,” Jauregui, of Pomona, said. “We would talk almost everyday after work; she would tell me her private issues…I know her inside and out. I still believe that she is going to call me.”

Tuesday’s column

What kind of monster dresses as Santa Claus and shoots an 8-year- old girl in the face as she expectantly greets him at the front door on Christmas Eve?

What kind of monster systematically executes nine people with semiautomatic handguns, takes out a homemade flamethrower festooned with Christmas wrapping and burns a two-story house to the ground?

What kind of monster takes out a whole family gathered together to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace?

What kind of monster rigs his rental car to explode with the hope that more victims will be added to the unfathomable death toll?

What kind of monster could be so enraged by a failed marriage and an acrimonious divorce that he could be driven to commit the most evil acts imaginable?

Those questions have been on my mind since Christmas Day. It was then we first learned that Bruce Pardo, 45, of Montrose killed nine members of the same family who had gathered at a Covina home on Knollcrest Drive.

An explosion from the blaze Pardo set off seared the Santa suit to his flesh. His getaway to Moline, Ill., or Davenport, Iowa, became unlikely.

Pardo, who spent months planning his attack, slipped past police responding to the horrific scene and made his way to a brother’s home in Sylmar.

The questions began to form in the minds of first responders who spent early Christmas morning grappling with the monster’s appetite for destruction.

But the monster did not stick around to answer the questions. The monster took the coward’s way out. He saved the last semi-automatic round for himself, completing the purchase of his one-way ticket to hell.

As a result, there is no accounting for the pure evil of the monster other than facts that could apply to anyone.

The monster lived among us.

The monster had a family.

The monster felt affection for his dog.

The monster achieved high grades in high school.

The monster attended college.

The monster worked as a software engineer.

The monster’s friends recalled him as quiet and unassuming.

The monster spent his Sunday evenings ushering the children’s Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Montrose.

The monster wished acquaintances Merry Christmas.

The questions and the irrelevance of the answers loomed large on Knollcrest Drive on Monday morning — five days after the massacre that likely claimed the lives of Jose and Alicia Ortega, two of their sons, two of their daughters-in-law, two daughters and a grandson.

I went there hoping to learn something — anything.

I left there with a profound feeling of despair and sadness for a loving and close-knit family taken out by a selfish, soulless and sociopathic monster who turned a day of joy into something we will never understand or comprehend.

Pardo’s chilling plot may have extended beyond Covina

Brian Day reports that KFI’s top-notch crime reporter Eric Leonard upped the ante in the tale fo Bruce Pardo this afternoon.

Leonard is reporting that Pardo planned to not only kill the Ortega family, but expected to find his own mother at that same Christmas party.

Additionally, Leonard is apparently reporting that Pardo’s second getaway car, was located close to the home of Scott Nord, the attorney who handled Sylvia Pardo’s divorce case. The workign theory is that Pardo plotted to kill Nord and his family before making a final getaway.

Brian’s working up a version of the story that we will release on line as soon as the details become clear.

Here’s a link to Leonard’s latest piece on the Christmas Eve massacre.

Fund for victims established

This from Glendale attorney Scott Nord, who is representing the surviving members of the Ortega family:

The events of Christmas Eve have left the families devastated by the horrific acts of Mr. Pardo. In their time of grief they ask that the media respect their privacy and provide solitude to grieve for their loss.

They are extremely grateful for all of the thoughts and prayers that have been offered for them in this time of crisis from around the entire world. They have felt your love for them and the prayers said on their behalf.

While there are no words which can help to cure the hurt that they are suffering, the thought that so many have opened their hearts to them provides them comfort. Offers of donations have been made to the family and they are truly grateful to those people who have done so.

A fund has been set up for monetary donations to help the family and checks can be mailed to Ortega Family Fund, C/O Law Offices of Scott J. Nord, 500 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 550, Glendale, California 91203.

While donations of other kinds have been made, and they are truly appreciated, they are not in the position to accept them at this time. Please make any nonmonetary donation to the charity of your choice in the name of the family. It is their desire that in this tragedy some others may receive some benefit from all the generosity being offered to them.

A visit to Knollcrest Drive

                                                                                21530-knollcrestscene-thumb-300x300.jpgThe happy home lays in ruins. Folks with Mapquest printouts parade by only to reach the end of the Cul-de-sac and have to navigate a tight turn.

Family friends and relatives of the victims come by the pay their respects.

A simple note sums up how many must feel:

“I hope that your family will heal and get past this tragedy.

Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

May God be with you always.

May 2009 be filled with happiness.

–Your neighbor.

 

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The pictures are two of several I shot. One is of clearly grieving relatives approaching the burnt out house where the Ortega family once lived. The other shows a smaller group of the same relatives paying their respects at a memorial to the family. Camera crews captured the moment on video.

 

 

Aftermath

Nearly a week since the Christmas Eve Massacre, a Covina neighborhood is struggling to return to normal. Reports of media, looky-loos even a random politician or two have filtered into the newsroom.

I’ll be heading out there about 11:30 a.m. to take a look myself.

How long is it appropriate for this sort of thing to go on?

We’re wondering that here today. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them.

Here’s some of the most recent stories recanting the tale of Bruce and Sylvia Pardo and the Christmas Eve Massacre:

KTLA: Authorities using dental records to identify victims.

Houston Chronicle: Thirteen children orphaned (from the LA Times).

Brian Day in the SGV Tribune: Details continue to emerge.

 

Massacre victims profiled

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The photo of Alicia and Jose Ortega comes from the Mexican newspaper, “El Siglo de Torreon” which profiled the couple on their 50th wedding anniversary.

The couple and seven other members of their family are missing and presumed dead following a Christmas Eve massacre at their home on Knollcrest Drive in Covina.

Here’s some of El Siglo’s report (Translation by Google):

The family was killed by a man dressed as Santa Claus in Los Angeles have roots in Torreon, as owners of the house where the massacre occurred was a marriage from the city, in-laws of the murderer, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo.

Slayer Santa’s second car found

A Toyota Rav4, apparently rented by Bruce Pardo in the days before he carried out the massacre of nine people celebrating Christmas at a Knollcrest Drive home, has been recovered, officials said.

A bomb squad investigation is now underway. THe car may be boobytrapped or contain explosives.

Here’s the most recent update:

A sheriff’s bomb squad is investigating a vehicle in Glendale they believe was rented by Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, the gunman in the Christmas Eve massacre who later killed himself.

A Glendale resident called police after noticing the abandoned vehicle, said Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz.

A gray 1999 Toyota RAV4 was rented by Pardo from an agency in Pasadena Dec. 19 and should have been returned Friday, said Lt. Pat Buchanan of the Covina Police Department.

Second car associated with Christmas Eve massacre sought

Police said Saturday they are seeking a second car that may be associated with Bruce Pardo, a gunman who dressed as Santa Claus who methodically killed nine people inside a Covina house on Christmas Eve.

The car a 1999 gray Toyota Rav4, may be rigged to explode.

Here’s the story:

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Meanwhile, a gray 1999 Toyota Rav4 rented by the suspect, Bruce Pardo, in recent weeks remains unaccounted for, Covina police Lt. Pat Buchanan.

Anyone who sees the SUV, which has a license plate number of 5RYD562, is advised not to approach it, the lieutenant said.

“We believe it may be booby trapped or contain explosives,” he said.

A Dodge Caliber rented by the suspect and abandoned in Sylmar was rigged to explode when examined by investigators.

Pardo’s mom speaks out

From the Los Angeles Times:

Nancy Windsor broke into violent sobs and tried to speak through them as she described her struggle to cope with her son Bruce Jeffrey Pardo’s Christmas Eve massacre, in which he killed his ex-wife and eight members of her close-knit family.

“I have to be honest with you, I’m having trouble holding myself together,” Windsor aid today in a brief telephone interview with The Times from the hotel where she is staying