PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As Portland’s homicide rate has risen, the number of unsolved murders has also increased. KOIN 6 News spoke to a family pleading with the community to come forward with information that could help solve a 2020 homicide.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the shooting that killed 23-year-old Evelin Navarro Barajas was gang related, but they say there is no indication Barajas or any of her friends were gang-affiliated.
Police say someone shot and killed her the evening of June 18, 2020, on Northeast Killingsworth Street. Officials said a man with her was also injured but survived.
At her childhood home, her family’s ofrenda has pictures of the 23-year-old — the eldest daughter of a tight-knit family. Her family said she was about to start her dream job and remember her for her big heart and taking care of everyone around her.
“She was so happy, too much energy, she was the dancer, the singer, the life of the party. She was really outgoing,” said her mother, Sonia Barajas.
Her mother says she thinks about her every day.
“That was my baby. There’s no day I don’t think of her. There’s always something…an empty spot. I try to go through my day, to work, my home, but she was family. She was my first child, she taught me to be a mom. I try to be strong for my family,” said Sonia Barajas.
Navarro Barajas’ family asks anyone with any information on the case to come forward.
“It would give us some sort of peace,” said her sister Janicey Navarro Barajas. “It won’t take away the pain, but she deserves justice.”
Navarro Barajas’ family is one of many searching for answers as Portland’s homicide rate suddenly spiked to record levels in 2020 and closure rates decreased.
According to PPB, the homicide clearance rate was at 70% in 2019, decreasing to 56% in 2020 then 42% in 2021.
There are multiple rewards being offered for information including a $15,000 reward from the FBI.
Crime Stoppers of Oregon offers cash rewards of up to $2,500 cash for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in any unsolved felony crime and tipsters can remain anonymous.