While cars whizzed by on the street, the lyrics of “Canción sin miedo,” or “Song without fear,” reverberated through the courtyard of the Taylorsville Municipal Justice Court.
The song was created for women who are victims of violence, like Gabriela Sifuentes Castilla, who was shot and killed at her home on Oct. 17. Saturday afternoon, a group of around 30 friends, family and supporters gathered in a call-to-action in remembrance of the local Spanish radio host, who also went by the name Gaby Ramos.
Though charges were filed against Sifuentes Castilla’s former fiance, he’s believed to have fled to Mexico.
Saturday’s event was organized by Sifuentes Castilla’s sister, Rocio Sifuentes, who witnessed Gabriela’s shooting, according to charging documents. Rocio said she and her family are going through a really hard time, and that in the middle of the night she often relives what she witnessed — all while Gabriela’s suspected killer is “living a happy life,” avoiding charges.
“But we are fighting for her, for my sister,” Rocio said.
Speakers at the event urged the public to give the same attention to Gabriela’s death as they did to the death of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old woman who had traveled through Utah with her partner, Brian Laundrie, before she was reported missing and later found dead.
Sergio Garcia, a friend of Gabriela’s who works with Rocio, said the group hopes to help prevent further instances of what happened in the cases of Petito and Sifuentes Castilla through the creation of “Gaby Alert,” a mechanism similar to an Amber Alert, but to help locate suspects of domestic violence.
“We’re in preliminary talks with a representative here at the Utah State Capitol to see if we could implement a Gaby Alert,” Garcia said. “Obviously, we don’t want this to happen. We want this to stop before anything happens. But in order to bring justice when it does happen, I think a Gaby alert would be great.”
The group also hopes to get in contact with Petito’s family to unite against domestic violence, and help get justice for both women, along with countless women of color who have been forgotten, said Brandy Farmer, who has been a domestic violence specialist for over 40 years.
“We’re not here to tell you that it wasn’t important for Gabby Petito’s story to be told — we’re just saying we want equal, we want everyone to be equal and to be included,” Farmer said. “That is why we are here today, to keep Gaby Ramos’ face in the forefront, in hopes that this message will reach into the confines of where her murderer is hiding and someone will turn him in.”
Rocio said it’s frustrating that there haven’t been many important case updates in her sister’s murder, and although she is grateful for the work of the officers on her sister’s case, she won’t feel safe until her sister’s ex-fiance, who is suspected of killing her, is caught.
“[The event’s turnout] warms me up … Because they loved my sister, but now they’re my friends,” Rocio said. “Don’t forget my sister. Don’t forget her case, and she needs justice.”