CBS47 Investigation: Fresno woman shot, body burned in field. Deputies need help to solve the case

February 07 2021 03:30 pm

It was a murder that took place in October of 2007.

A Fresno woman was shot, killed. then her body was burned and dumped in west Fresno County.

The victim’s name was Alma Pena.

She was a mother of five kids. She had 4 girls and a boy.

Pena’s daughter Christina says, “I get very emotional when I start thinking about her. So I just try to stay strong. I know it has been so many years but I still think of her. She is on my mind everyday.”

Christina was only 19-years-old when Alma was murdered.

“She knew a lot of people. She was a hard worker. She loved being here for us, and she was a great mother,” says Christina.

Alma’s family says their mom always made sure the family was taken care of.

In fact in October of 2007, Alma was working a second job as a caretaker.

What happened next, changed her kids lives.

Christina says her mom never came home one night and that is when the frantic calls began.

Christina says, “We kept calling her and calling her. She would never answer, and that was not like her. If we called her she would always answer the phone.”

It was so odd, that the family went looking for her.

Pena’s sister, Monica says, “So we went and took off. I said I’m going to take a drive all the way to Cherry Auction. That’s when I turned and when my headlights hit, and I saw another cars headlights. It was abandoned inside the parking lot. My niece said it looks like my mom’s car and when I threw on the high beams, it was her car. “

Alma’s car was strangely parked near American Avenue and the 41 freeway.

Detectives surrounded the car, as Alma’s children watched.

The family tells CBS47 they all held their breath when detectives opened the trunk.

Christina says, “but it was nothing. Nothing of her was in there. It was just the car.”

Days later the family discovered, a farmer found a burned body near Kamm and Napa in west Fresno County.

The body was so badly burned, it had to be identified using dental records.

Detectives confirmed it was Alma Pena’s body.

Christina says, “It was hard for everybody when the detectives came to the house and told us that is your mother, everybody started crying.”

Fresno Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Hector Palma says, “It has been frustrating, not being able to bring justice to Alma’s family and Alma.”

Some 11 years later, this case still haunts detectives.

Palma says, “The autopsy was done and it was determined she did suffer gunshot wounds and her body was burned.”

Christina says the family lost their glue.

She say the one person they say brought everyone together.

Detectives tell CBS47 that they’ve confirmed Pena got a phone call while she was at work.

The caller said her sister needed help.

Detectives said Pena left and that’s when she was last seen.

Palma says, “Later we learned that in fact she did receive a phone call but it was not from a family member. I would just tell her that I miss her and I love her so much. I wish that she could still be here for us and be with us as a family with her kids and grandchildren.”

Detectives say they checked her phone records, and contacted the people who alma spoke with. But unfortunately there is not enough evidence to develop a suspect or make an arrest in the case.

Anyone who might have know anything about this case, you urged to call the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office at (559) 600-8400.

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