PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Family members are asking anyone with information to come forward after a young woman was stabbed to death in SE Portland late last week. Police are now looking for the suspect.
A sister, aunt, and friend, 22-year-old Tiara Atencio’s family say she was happy, bubbly and always down for an adventure — her biggest one yet, becoming a mom to her 1-year-old son, Legend.
“She wanted to watch him grow. She wanted to be a part of his life, she wanted to be the best mom she could be,” Fenicia Damian, Atencio’s sister. “She just had so much life ahead of her, she was special.”
Atencio left Damian’s house Thursday night to head home. When she didn’t hear from her the next day, family members confirmed the worst.
“They were asking me when was the last time I talked to Tiara and I was like what do you mean the last time I talked to Tiara, and my heart’s pounding like what do you mean? You don’t want to hear that news but you kind of feel like something’s coming,” Damian said. “They said that they found a body and they think that it’s Tiara’s.”
Portland Police say just after 11 p.m. Thursday, officers were called to the area of SE 68th and Powell where they found Atencio seriously injured with stab wounds. She was taken to a local hospital where she died, her death now being investigated as a homicide.
Family members say her identity was confirmed through fingerprints before they were contacted. The news and manner of her death came as an unimaginable shock.
“She didn’t die of a natural cause. She didn’t die in her sleep or slip down the stairs and bump her head. My sister was murdered. She was stabbed to death,” Angelina Perez, Atencio’s sister, said. “Somebody out there felt that their anger or emotion or whatever was going through their mind at that moment was above another person’s life. That is the most difficult thing for me to comprehend. That is the most difficult thing for me to process right now. I have this hurt and this rage that I don’t know what to do with. I just want justice for Tiara.”
Police say the suspect left the area before officers were called and so far, no arrests have been made. Atencio’s family has a message for the person responsible.
“I just hope and pray that you have it in you to turn yourself in because this is not going to be another story on the Portland news that’s just going to be swept under the rug,” Atencio’s sister, who asked not to be shown, said. “She mattered to a lot of people and that was my baby sister. You took away the mother of my nephew and the aunt to my kids. You took away a lot and that’s something that’s not going to be forgotten. I just hope you find it in yourself to turn yourself in.”
Her family says they don’t know why she was killed.
“She was trying to start her life so it’s sad,” Shalice Lewis, Atencio’s sister-in-law said. “It’s frustrating because it’s like why her? She did nothing, she didn’t deserve that.”
As they figure out what’s next, Atencio’s sisters say she will live on through her family, and Legend will always know who his mom was.
“She was the best and she deserves to still be here,” Damian said. “It’s hard to even think about the future without someone, you know what I mean? It’s hard to even imagine what it would be like.”
Family members have set up a GoFundMe account to help with a celebration of life service for Atencio, as well as making sure Legend is taken care of.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Detective Scott Broughton Scott.Broughton@police.portlandoregon.gov (503) 823-3774 or Detective Eric McDaniel Eric.McDaniel@police.portlandoregon.gov 503-823-0833, and reference case number 23-274506.