IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — It was a double homicide case that haunted a South Bay community for years.
The murder of Jonathan Sellers and Charlie Keever happened three decades ago and today the community is keeping their names alive.
Thirty years ago, Sellers and Keever were killed and their bodies were discovered along the Otay River.
“My baby would be turning 40 years old, and he never got to see that” said Sellers’ mother Melena Sellers Phillips.
Sellers was nine years old at the time.
“It was very difficult. I went through some hard times for many years” Phillips said.
Charlie Keever, 13, was also a victim. His mother told FOX5 the conversation she had with him before he went out on his bike ride.
“Por favor Charlie, be careful. There are a lot of bad people around y me dijo, oh mom don’t worry” Maria Keever said.
The boys were never seen again. Two days later, their bodies were discovered along the Otay River bank and according to police, Scott Erskine was accused of the crime. He later died from COVID-19 complications in prison.
On Monday, it was a new day of hope and awareness. Both families are pushing forward on a foundation in honor of the boys and even opened the doors to the Jonathan Sellers & Charlie Keever Outdoor Educational Activity Center with one goal in mind.
“A lot of times, we find ourselves in situations, we are not comfortable, but we decide to stay even though we realize we should have gone. That’s what the foundation is all about. It teaches the children to keep your distance, stay alert and when you don’t know what to do always fly away,” Phillips said.
Local leaders and community members Monday stepped up to show their support to the families at the site, now dedicated to the young boys. It’s a tribute with song and prayer while highlighting the importance of creating a safe public space for the youth.
“I think Jonathan would be laughing as well as Charlie and both would be very proud saying my face is on a rock” added Phillips.
Both mothers say the hardest part aside from the murder was not knowing who committed the crime.
They say they will continue the fight to do as much as possible to spread awareness to avoid another tragedy.