The Following was written by Sunnie Juarez Mills:
Michael, Anthony, and Carmen Juarez were siblings who lived in the very small and beautiful beach town named Cayucos (“by the sea”) California. They lived in a tri-level home with their doting and loving father, Bill Juarez. Cayucos is the type of town where everybody knows everybody and nobody locks their cars or their front doors…yes, such places do still exist. Laughter and joy permeated through the house each and every day and a happier home there could not have been. Michael, his wife Jennifer and their young baby girl Javanna had the downstair.. Michael, the “white rapper” as I fondly referred to him, was ever the comedian. Always cracking jokes, making the rounds, coming up with quick get rich ideas or horse playing with his father or whoever else he thought his skinny bone Jones frame could beat….this guy could pull a rhyme out of the air and I, his sister Sunnie, referred fondly to him as the wanna be Snoop Dogg of Cayucos, he on the other hand called himself Demo 1…I like my nickname better…he and Jenn shared their living quarters with Anthony and his gorgeous fiancee Stormy. The young couple wanted to one day have their own children and family, but Anthony ever the planner had just begun college and knew he had to finish his education in order to provide for his future family. Anthony was driven, never missed one day of school and was even honored for it at high school graduation. Talk about looks…I’m talking head turning, gawking, good old fashioned boy next door looks with a twinkle in his eye like no other. The envy of many men and the desire of many women, the apple of his fathers eye. Their young sister Carmen lived upstairs with her father Bill, but spent most of her time in the downstairs unit with Dad #2 and Dad #3, also known as her brothers, best friends and confidants..A young girl who always seemed to be frozen in time…never aging. Even when she was 29 years old, people mistook her for a young teenage girl…a hauntingly beautiful girl with the soul of an angel….life in the old Cayucos house could not have been any better.
October 27, 1998 started as any other day for brothers Michael and Anthony Juarez. The 27 and 19 year old brothers had dreams, BIG dreams and that was to open a clothing store in the city of Cayucos California where they resided with their father, Bill Juarez, their sister Carmen Juarez, Mike’s wife, Jennifer Juarez, their young daughter Javanna Juarez and Anthony’s fiancee, Stormie Dae Hampton (now Garcia). The two brothers headed to the southern California area to retrieve clothing for their new store from the West Side Clothing store, co-owned by their cousin, Frank Juarez, Jr. and his long-time school mate and friend, Mr. Arturo Arce. At approximately noon, the brothers had loaded up Michael’s truck with their wares and knew they had to get home (it was a four hour drive), in order to make it on time for Mike’s daughter’s birthday party. Her birthday is October 27th. Unfortunately, without warning, the doors of the West Side Clothing Store were flung open and 3-masked gun men entered with semi automatic assault rifles shooting Mike in the back more than 12 times and point blank in the face. His younger brother Anthony was shot five times in the upper torso and neck area and died at the scene. Cousin Frank and a customer in the store were both hit and have since recovered from their physical injuries, however it is not likely either will ever recover from their emotional injuries. In 2008, with DNA advancements, 2 suspects serving time in jail on unrelated charges were charged with the murders. One Jessie Garcia was charged as the shooter and his cousin, David Robles was charged with the same crimes as the driver of the getaway car. That trial ended in a hung jury. In 2011, trial number 2 got underway. In March of 2011, while the council for both sides were giving their closing arguments, young Carmen Juarez, who had been missing her brothers relentlessly since their murders, hung herself in the closet of the Cayucos home they all once shared. On a cold and blustery April day in the year 2011, while the jury was deliberating whether or not to find the two accused guilty of murder or innocent, we were laying our baby sister to rest side by side with Michael and Anthony in the Old Cayucos Cemetery. She was now with the brothers that she had so longed to see. The following week, the family headed back to southern California where the jury found both Mr. Garcia and Mr. Robles, guilty on all counts. Both will serve multiple life sentences without the possiblity of parole, never able to do this to another family again.
Although thugs have been sentenced and “justice” has been served, the house that once was brimming with laughter and music and family, is now a tomb. Gone is the life that once gave vibrant luster to the house, gone is the music that once flowed out of its doors and windows and gone are the people who brought smiles and happiness to an aging father. Bill is now alone with his memories and the what ifs and what was of a time long ago. Afraid to leave or sell the house so as not to upset what once was, afraid that he will somehow be dishonoring the memories of his beloved children, or leave the lurking soul of his youngest daughter Carmen to wander the halls and the stairwells searching for the brothers she lost so many years before she took her own life in the very home she shared with them. A weary father, nearly 70-years old, now sits in an empty house, near a cemetery where his children are buried waiting patiently to join them….