Loved ones reflect on Yajaira Garcia’s life one year after her death

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Sunday marks one year since 17-year-old Yajaira Garcia’s death and her loved ones are remembering the person she was.

The former Wichita Falls High School student died of a gunshot wound and when deputies arrived on the scene on Hammon Road, they said Joshua Cook was kneeling over her body with a gun in his hand and told them he had done it.

Cook remains in jail on a $300,000 bond.

The yellow rose petal is just one thing Garcia was known as.

“It’s hard to describe her because she was just so full of life with a lot ahead of her,” Garcia’s friend and Amnesty International member Nadia Serna said.

“She might’ve been shy at first but then once you did get to know her you’d meet the goofy person she was,” Garcia’s friend Marlem Martinez said.
It’s been a year without her.

“Personally, I was more angry, but then I learned that that’s not going to help anything so just to keep pushing,” Garcia’s friend Monse Benitez said.

Loved ones are honoring the person she was, while also pushing for justice and an end to gun violence.

Amnesty International is an organization at MSU dedicated to defending basic human rights.

For one member, Yajaira’s death is personal as she was a dear friend.

“I will do whatever we can to get the justice that she deserves and we won’t stop until that is accomplished,” Serna said.

The organization gifted the Garcia’s a yellow rose piece of art, but that’s just a few of many who are continuing to stand by the Garcia’s even a year after Yajaira’s death, including the Landavazo’s who know the heartache first-hand.

“Just to let them know that even though it seems like it’s going to kill you, that grief that they are going through, that it’s possible to take and survive that and not just survive it but to kinda spread the good about their daughter,” Vern Landavazo said.

Spreading the good of Yajaira. The good that friends believe hasn’t gone anywhere.

“I’m pretty sure she’s just up there making everybody smile,” Benitez said.

A year of what feels like forever for many who knew and loved Yajaira has come and gone, but what hasn’t gone is their fight for justice and the love for their yellow rose petal.

Cook’s trial is set for February 3, 2020.

However, if he were to post bond, judge Jeff McKnight has set conditions that he cannot leave the county without permission, must wear a GPS ankle monitor, stay in his mother’s home unless going to work or court, and cannot go outside the home between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

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