Rally planned in southeast Bakersfield in memory of a murdered teenager

Posted: Apr 22, 2021 / 5:45 PM PDT
Updated: April 22, 2021 / 5:51 PM PDT

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A local pastor calls for gun violence victims to come together at a rally and vigil for 16-year-old Marya Neufeld this weekend.

The rally and vigil will take place on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on Cottonwood Road and McNew Court. Pastor Ray Ballard with Operation: Soulwinner said he wanted the rally to encourage families of victims not to give up hope and that Bakersfield’s church take a stand against violence. The majority of known murders this year have resulted in deaths, including the murder of Carlos Perez Hernandez, who was shot just up the street from where Ballard plans to keep the vigil.

Neufeld’s body was discovered on March 6th in an orchard on Tower Line Road and Buena Vista Boulevard. The teenage mother had been shot in the head. The crime is personal to Ballard as his 17-year-old daughter Kaitlynn was friends with Neufeld, who says the 16-year-old was there for her during the dark times of her own life.

Nancy Larson, Neufeld’s aunt, said her family plans to hand out leaflets during the rally to spread the $ 2,000 reward for information they offer to anyone who helps them solve the shooting. This award is on top of GoFundMe donations.

Anyone with information about Marya Neufeld’s death can contact KCSO at (661) 861-3110 or remain anonymous by calling Kern Secret Witness at (661) 322-4040.

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