Visalia police and Valley Crime Stoppers are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a break in the gang-related homicide of a pregnant woman whose child was delivered as she lay dying.
Vanessa Oviedo, 27, of Visalia, was a passenger in a car carrying five people when another car came up beside them at Ben Maddox Way and Houston Avenue and opened fire about 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 17.
A bullet hit Oviedo in the head. She was 35 weeks pregnant.
The driver, Andrew Aguirre, was also hit but drove to Kaweah Delta Medical Center where doctors removed the baby from the mother’s womb with seconds to spare.
The newborn, Asiyas Aguirre, is being cared for by Melinda Molina, Andrew Aguirre’s mother. The baby is gaining weight and doing well, she said.
Aguirre is a former Norteño gang member who dropped out of the gang and was the intended target of the shooting, police said. Police don’t know if that’s why he was targeted, but believe the incident is gang-related.
Somebody out there knows something. We need those folks to come forward and provide information.
Sgt. Damon Maurice, Visalia police
Police are looking for a compact, two-door red car of unknown make and model that drove up beside Aguirre as he was stopped in the left turn lane. There were two people in the red car, police said.
“Somebody out there knows something,” Sgt. Damon Maurice said. “We need those folks to come forward and provide information.”
Aguirre and Oviedo were the parents of an 11-month-old baby girl, Aniyzah Aguirre, who was in the car. She was not hurt. (Oviedo also had two children from a previous marriage, a 5-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl.)
Ramiro Oviedo, Vanessa’s father, wiped away tears as he spoke with reporters Thursday about his daughter’s shocking death.
“She was everything to us,” he said. “If anyone knows anything, come forward. If not for me, for the kids. I want closure.”
The reward money is coming from Visalia police and Crime Stoppers.