OAN’s Brooke Mallory
3:20 PM – Sunday, July 16, 2023
A 27-year-old homeless mother sleeping in a Modesto, California, park was killed last week after being run over by a lawn mower, and her family alleges that investigators left “chunks” of her corpse strewn across the grass.
Christine Chavez was reportedly sleeping in a grassy area at Beard Brook Park at around noon on July 8th when a John Deere tractor equipped with a pull-behind mower swept the area.
According to the Modesto Bee, Chavez, who had a 9-year-old daughter, had been transient for the previous three to four years and frequently camped in the park, which was bought by nearby E&J Gallo Winery the day before her death.
The unnamed landscaper claims he did not see the sleeping woman until he had “noticed a body in the grass he had already made a pass through,” Modesto police say.
Chavez was declared dead at the scene after the worker contacted 9-1-1.
Family members stated that the negligent and sloppy clean-up has exacerbated their pain.
“They left big chunks of her all over the place, just covered up with the grass,” the victim’s sister Rosalinda told the press.
“We have to go see the place because we wanted some kind of closure, and to be right there, looking at the ground, and then all of a sudden, seeing chunks of her, is horrible.”
“Even when they go and pick up a dog from the street, they take more time.”
Christopher Chavez, the victim’s father, said he was eventually able to collect bits of his daughter’s bones, skull, and teeth in the days following her death.
The woman’s family felt that her remains were mishandled since she was homeless and investigators might not have seen her as a contributing member of society.
Before the ownership change, the 12-acre park was a popular camping ground for the area’s homeless.
Other homeless individuals spoke to the press and reported seeing Chavez wash her hair in the park’s creek before sleeping on a hill near the playground and baseball field.
The mower reportedly arrived around twenty minutes later.
Chavez’s family is now demanding justice for their loved one’s death as well as stricter local legislation to safeguard homeless people.
“She didn’t deserve that for that reason—for being homeless,” said her brother, Randy Chavez, 33. “My sister was loved. The only thing she wanted was to be free.”
“We want ordinances to change so it doesn’t happen again. Regardless if they are homeless, they are still people and should be treated the same as any other people.”
Esmerelda Chavez, the victim’s sister, has come together with the rest of the family to set up a GoFundMe page in order to receive enough funds to pay for a lawyer to take on the case.
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