Five years later, Filipina's suspected murderer still not charged
LOS ANGELES—It has been five years since Sharon Anne Santos’ body was found in her car trunk, yet still the suspect in her murder has not been charged for any crime.
“Everyday something reminds me of her, and memories flood back,” said Sharon’s sister, Sandra Santos, laying flowers on Sharon’s grave. The pain has not subsided for Sharon’s family, who visit her grave often. Sharon’s mother, Edna, is still haunted by visions of Sharon’s last, living moments.
“I’m just imagining—she was very frail—what she must have been thinking. I’m always thinking about it. She must have been calling me or Sandy to help her,” Edna said.
On august 17, 2004, the 30-year-old Warner Brothers employee from Burbank was reported missing. Two weeks later her body was found in her car in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.
The pain for the Santos family is made worse because the suspect in Sharon's abduction and murder has not been charged. They believe that Eriberto Rodriguez, a convicted sex offender who worked as a handyman in Sharon's apartment complex at the time of her disappearance was responsible for the crime. He is currently in jail for unrelated charges, and Sharon's family is worried that he might soon be allowed to go free if he remains not criminally charged.
“I’m hoping that the detective will take a look at her case and continue to fight as hard as they did in the beginning to secure a charge and a conviction for the person who did this,” Sandra said.
Sharon’s murder attracted heavy, mainstream news coverage. Her family believed that this helped and pressured the police to find the suspect. Now they are hoping that by talking about the lack of progress in the case, the Filipino-American community which rallied behind them before can help them again.
In a phone interview, the Burbank Police Department said that Sharon's case is not a cold case and that the department is still investigating all leads.
The public is encouraged to call detective Tony Desantis of Burbank PD at (818) 238-3242 for any information on the case.
Last year, a jury awarded Edna Santos $12 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against Sharon's apartment owners for hiring Rodriguez, but she did not get anything because the owners filed an appeal, noting that the police have not even charged Rodriguez with Sharon's death.
On August 29, Sharon’s family and friends will hold a memorial service to honer her memory and to encourage the community to help make sure that Sharon’s case is not forgotten.