Archive for 2003

San Jose Mercury News – News briefs from California’s Central Coast}

San Jose Mercury News | 12/09/2003 | News briefs from California’s Central Coast

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.

Norma’s Funeral Service}

At 11 o’clock this morning we had a wonderful funeral service for Norma at the Paso Robles chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Program was as follows:

Jay Packer . . . . . . . . . . Invocation
Pres. Steve Nelson . . . . Speaker
Tim Alatorre . . . . . . . . Piano Solo
Michelle Cordova . . . . . Eulogy
Bishop Kim Kunz . . . . . Closing Remarks
Rick Cordova . . . . . . . .Benediction

The chapel and all overflows were completely full and my initial estimate is that there were over 500 people in attendance. Friends, family, co-workers, and many strangers who were moved by Norma’s story. Although the last few days have been rainy and there is to be rain for the rest of the week, there was not a cloud in the sky today.


Monday 12/08/03 – Arraignment}

Norma’s three murderers were arraigned today in San Luis Obispo at 8:30am. All three entered a plea of not guilty. Although they have already given signed confessions the DA informed us that it is normal to enter a not guilty plea so that the case goes to trial and they can try to reduce there sentence.

The Third Arrest}

Another call from the detective revealed that a third arrest had happened at around 6pm. All of the above information was kept confidential pending the arrest of the third accomplice, Celas’ son, Miguel. He had fled the county days before and was arrested in Mariposa, CA, east of Bakersfield.

To fill everyone in, Isabelle Celas was actually a person that Norma spent a lot of energy and love helping. Most of this woman’s home was furnished by Norma. She would bring her food, and clothing for her family, and Norma’s husband Phil even bought their kids a basketball for Christmas because they had no gifts. Norma trusted and cared for this family and then the mother betrayed her. Her motives are still under investigation, but detectives say there is a solid case being built.

Thursday 12/04/03 – The First Arrests}

“Our” detective came by the house at around a quarter to 7 this morning, ecstatic to let us know that there had been two arrests the prior night, and a confession. Finally, some definite answers into what happened to Norma. Norma’s assailant, Isabelle Celas, confessed to a social worker, as she was fleeing the county, what she had done. The social worker then informed the police and three warrants were issued. One for Celas, her son Miguel, and another man living with the family. Both Celas and the third man have been arrested but the location of Celas’ son is still unknown.

San Luis New Times – Woman’s body found in North County}

San Luis New Times | 12/03/2003 | Woman’s body found in North County

Please note that not all statments in the news media are true. See my other posts for clarification.

Wednesday 12/03/03 – My Inistial Reaction…}

How to remember a loved one; words always seem inadequate when emotion is so strong. Norma is loved by so many. If there was any doubt about that before it is now clear to the world how many truly admired her testimony, faith, determination, perseverance, dedication, and loving heart. It?s easy at a time like this is become bitter and angry toward the perpetrators of this crime and all of the people who are now walking the streets knowing exactly what happened and have done nothing. Yet, it?s a comfort for me to remember the love that Norma has for those same people. She spent much of her life helping to raise them out of their squalor, to help give them a new start here in America, to share with them her testimony of her Savior, Jesus Christ. She spent her life trying to make other?s lives better. We must now do the same. We must continue her legacy. I will always remember Norma as a wonderful missionary, anxious to share what meant so much to her. Without ever serving as a full time missionary she has brought entire families into the gospel and seen them sealed for eternity in the temple. There is no greater example than this. I know that she is with our Heavenly Father now. She has been reunited with her father and all of our family that have already gone on. While we are mourning here they are celebrating and preparing for the great work that they now must do to prepare the way for us to follow. Families are forever thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know this and it brings me much peace and comfort. Our Father in Heaven knows our sorrow and will give us comfort and peace. I know this to be true and leave my testimony of this, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


We are notified}

At around 10pm tonight detectives came by the Barto home to notify us that they found Norma.


Two woman stop for a rest 3 miles north of Paso Robles at around 5pm. They notice a body in the underbrush off the side of the road and call 911. The police later identify the body. No family members ever saw Norma’s body.

$25,000 REWARD}

Thanks to generous donations we are now offering a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the recovery of Norma Barto.