'Justice he deserves': SJ family hopes decorated Christmas tree can lead to info in murder case

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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
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In the South Bay, a family is using a Christmas tree as a way for their lost loved one's legacy to live on.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, a family is using a Christmas tree as a way for their lost loved one's legacy to live on.

San Jose resident Matthew Chavira was shot and killed in March and his killer is still on the loose.

The family hopes his tree can bring awareness and justice.

In the middle of a grove full of joy, there's a somber reminder of loved ones lost.

This year at Christmas in the Park, a special section of community decorated trees honoring those we will be without this holiday season.

"It's great, especially if the person who has passed had a special tie to Christmas in the Park or enjoyed coming down as a family, "Christmas in the Park exec. director Jason Minsky said. "This is a really great way for them to kind of cherish their memory."

Through these trees, their stories live on.

Stories like that of Stephen Romero lost in the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, the VTA Ten from the railyard shooting this year and Matthew Chavira, a victim of homicide in March.

"We wanna let the community know his story." his best friend said.

He is remembered as father of two kids, with a soft spot for animals, including his dog, Luna, a free spirit and a die-hard Raiders fan.

RELATED: SJ's Christmas in the Park welcomes back guests to beloved downtown event

His loved ones remember celebrating the holidays with him every year.

"He was loyal and compassionate," his friend said. "I just remember coming to Christmas in the Park with him two years ago. He was just like a kid and I had a lot of great memories with him."

Memories now on display through this tree with the hope that someone will see it and have some answers.

Chavira was shot and killed leaving a charity event in March.

San Jose Police are still investigating his murder and a video of a possible getaway vehicle remains a key piece of evidence.

"Nothing would ever bring him back, but just knowing who did this to him, I feel like that's when we can really start healing," his friend said.

The wounds of a lost loved one may never truly heal, especially around the holidays and on this day when Chavira would have turned 37.

"No matter how long it takes, I'm never going to give up on finding out who did this to him," His friend said. "I'm going to keep pushing and I'm going to continue to try and find justice that he deserves."

If you have any information about Matthew Chavira's case, please contact San Jose police.

The family has set up multiple ways for people to donate for a reward fund for any information about Chavira's murder. There is a GoFundMe here, or use the Venmo information below.

A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday night at Christmas in the Park in his honor.