In a span of seven months, three mothers received the same devastating news.
Their teenage boys — who were 17 and 18 years old — were each shot to death.
The three fatal shootings happened between May 2020 and November 2020.
Though each mother has dealt with grief in their own way, they have come together to support each other through their day-to-day roller coaster of emotions.
“I don’t want to let my son’s death be in vain, so I would love to try to do something and that’s why I’ve helped these other mothers who are in the exact place that I was,” said Jessica Castaneda, who lost her son Osvaldo “Chevy” Renteria on May 17, 2020.
Castenada was the first of three mothers who received the news that her 17-year-old son was killed. The second mother was 40-year-old Odessan Merissa Madero, whose 18-year-old son Emmanuel “Nano” Armando Urias, was killed Sept. 26, 2020.
The most recent was 40-year-old Odessa Michelle Del Bosque whose 18-year-old son Alec Michael Del Bosque was killed Nov. 1, 2020.
The three women attend a larger once-a-month support group, but they keep in constant contact through a text messaging group. Michelle Del Bosque said the women will send words of encouragement while also meeting in person once a month.
“I appreciate the group a lot, because it’s people who understand what you are going through,” Del Bosque said. “They are the only ones that can say that they really know how I feel.”
Madero said at times the text messaging group can get overwhelming, however, she is appreciative of the support the other mothers in her situation have shown.
“I heard them and the next thing you know they break down and I start remembering and I break down,” Madero said. “I get it, because we need to let that out, but I guess I really haven’t accepted the fact that my baby is gone. It’s hard.”
Castenada and Madero each said their son’s deaths resulted in them being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Michelle Del Bosque said she believed that her son’s death wasn’t a random act of violence. She said that her property had been broken into multiple times and shot multiple times and each time that happened she filed a report with law enforcement. Del Bosque said her son wanted her to quit calling the sheriff’s office when her property was broken into, but she didn’t heed those warnings.
“My son kept telling me, ‘you are going to get killed if you keep going to the cops,’” Del Bosque said. “It scared us really bad. My son was set up several times. It was really bad. From May of 2020 to October 2020, our lives were a living hell. We were scared to death. We feared for our lives.”
According to a previous Odessa American article, Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis detailed that there was a party in the 14000 block of West Stagecoach Drive. Griffis said two individuals, John Anthony Sanchez and Del Bosque, got into a confrontation that led to Del Bosque being shot and killed.
Michelle Del Bosque told the Odessa American that she believes the party was a setup for her son to be shot and killed. Del Bosque admitted there’s only one thing that she would have changed in the past.
“I honestly think we would have packed our bags and moved,”
Del Bosque said as she fought back tears. “That would have been the best thing for us. To pack our bags and move immediately. That’s the biggest mistake we made.”
Castenada, Madero and Del Bosque were each born and raised in Odessa and they all explained that life now is different than life when they were teenagers.
All three mothers pointed to various reasons for teen deaths in Odessa whether it’s gun violence, drugs, gangs or simply someone seen as being disrespectful on social media.
“Back in the day, we could walk to a friend’s house that was a couple of blocks away,” Madero said. “Now, you can’t do that because you don’t know what’s going to be around the corner.”
Del Bosque added: “We are having big-city problems. It’s bad. It’s really bad.”
Castenada said she wants to urge parents to talk to their child and ask questions like who their child is hanging out with, where they are spending their time and what they are doing in their free time.
“Your kid could be the killer or your kid could be the victim,” Castenada said. “Make sure these kids don’t have ahold of a gun and feel like they can just take another kid’s life.”
“For the love of God, raise your kid right. Do the best you can as a parent and make sure your kid doesn’t get involved in that or becomes the person that takes someone else’s life.”