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Family of teen killed in random carjacking worries about justice because suspects are juveniles

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Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City family is reacting to a huge update in the killing of their teenage son, after police tracked down a third person believed to be involved in the random carjacking that left 17-year-old Bryan Galicia dead three months ago.

His family expressed worry that the justice system won't bring them closure.

Galicia had just turned 17 and was on his way home to watch a movie with his girlfriend back in September, his cousin Darleny Fuentes said, when a car the teen couple didn't recognize began following them to his Rose Park area house.

Fuentes said the family's surveillance cameras show Galicia pulling up with the other car behind. His mother was inside.

"She hears four gunshots — one, two, three, four — and it was so close to the house, that she never thought it was going to be her own kid," Fuentes said. "She went outside, and she found him."

Discovered by his own mother, Galicia had been shot and quickly died. Court documents say a carjacker walked up to him and yelled something, then shot Galicia through the driver's side window.

The family would then discover the suspects — 17-year-old Nestor Del Valle and then 16-year-old Christian Rodriguez — appeared to have targeted Galicia and his girlfriend at random and killed him for no apparent reason.

Court documents state the teens were looking for a different vehicle originally, but saw Galicia's car and decided to follow it.

Even more angering, Fuentes would explain, is what they discovered in the teens' pasts.

"They had so many things behind already, like when they assaulted the police officer over there on 2100 South, they were in a wreck when they shot someone in the leg. All these things in their background, why were they out? Why? I don't even see why anyone would have any considerations in these youngsters," she said.

Even though they got a third person, yes, we should be kind of happy but that's not the case.

–Darleny Fuentes

Feeling that the juvenile justice system has already failed their family, news of a third arrest of a 15-year-old girl Thursday isn't bringing relief.

"Even though they got a third person, yes, we should be kind of happy but that's not the case," Fuentes expressed.

Del Valle and Rodriguez have been charged with murder and aggravated robbery as adults, which is why KSL is naming them despite their ages. But Fuentes is worried their family won't get the justice they're looking for.

They're meeting with prosecutors next week, she said, to find out how the teens' ages might factor into the court process.

"Even though they're getting treated as adults the other two, the girl is not," she said. "There's a lot going through our head right now."

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Lauren Steinbrecher
Lauren Steinbrecher is an Emmy award-winning reporter and multimedia journalist who joined KSL in December 2021.


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