Nine years later, mother still searching for answers in son’s Valentine’s Day murder

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Its been nine years since someone murdered Johnny Valdivia on Valentine's Day, just feet away from his front door in KCK.

"He picked up a heart-shaped pizza at the local pizza establishment, was on his way over with gifts for his girlfriend," said Det. Kevin Boehm with Crime Stoppers.

Detectives say Valdivia had just arrived parked in his driveway at 17th and Richmond before he was shot and killed. His girlfriend and 10-day-old son were inside.

"As he was approaching the residence, he was shot and killed right there before he got to the door," Boehm said.

His girlfriend rushed outside but couldn't save him. She called Johnny`s mother, Lupe.

Johnny Valdivia

"She said Johnny's been shot. And I said he's been shot? Well what do you mean? He [a detective] got on the phone and just said the person whose been shot has expired, and I lost it. I just lost it," Lupe said.

In the nine years since the murder, tips have been reported, but the case remains unsolved.

"I don't know how someone can sleep knowing that they took someone else's child, " Lupe said. "Broke my heart. You broke my heart. He was my baby. He was my baby."

Now, Valentine's Day means something entirely different to the metro mom.

"It was just a very, very tragic night for us. In that moment everything changes. Everything changes. Who you were is now no longer who you are," she said.

She channels her grief into work. Lupe hosts a fundraiser almost every year near the holiday.

"I wanted to turn it around to not be such a sad and sorrowful day," she said.

Johnny's friends and family sell small things and donate time and gifts to raise money for a reward.

" Come forward. There's $23,000 waiting for you," Lupe said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the TIPS Hotline 816-474-8477. Tips can remain anonymous.

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