Phoenix family still waiting for justice after their teen daughter was shot dead

Three years: that’s how long a local family has lived without their beloved sister and daughter.

Phoenix Police say Itzel Espinoza was shot dead in July 2021. Police were called to the area of 35th Avenue and Southern on July 3, 2021, after a caller reported that a woman was sitting inside of a car in an alley with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

Itzel, who was 17 at the time, was declared dead at the scene.

"I just want justice for my kid. That's the only thing that I ask," said Itzel's mother, Elizabeth Diaz, in 2021.

"We don't wish it on anybody else," Itzel's father said

Fast forward three years, however, justice has still not been served.

"It hasn’t been easy, but we are moving forward slowly but surely," said Eduardo Espinoza, Itzel's father.

For Eduardo, visiting his daughter at her grave site has become a daily ritual.

"The last three years, I have been here every day," said Eduardo. "It’s kind of like our little peace of mind. We come here, get to decorate, make it look nice."

Police identify suspects

Per investigators, Itzel was shot after getting into a fight with a suspect identified as Lindsey Brianna Aguilar. Court documents say a second suspect named Jesus Padilla handed the gun over to Aguilar, who shot at Itzel multiple times.

Padilla is currently serving time behind bars for his role in the death, while a third suspect, a 16-year-old, was booked into the juvenile detention center.

Aguilar is still on the run.

"The same way she didn’t think about taking my daughter’s life, she could easily do it to someone else," said Eduardo.

That is why as Eduardo wipes off Itzel’s grave, he hopes his family will have peace of mind one day.

"We all want justice," said Eduardo. "We want that girl to be brought to justice."

Anyone with information should leave an anonymous tip by calling Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. Spanish speakers can leave an anonymous tip by calling Testigo Silencioso at 480-TESTIGO.

Si tiene alguna información sobre este caso, llame a la línea de Testigo Silencioso (480-TESTIGO, 480-837-8446).

Silent Witness