‘We just want justice’: Family pleads for information on teen’s murder at Phoenix graduation party

Jun 1, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jun 2, 2023, 9:16 am

Desiree Rivas. (Phoenix Police Department)...

Desiree Rivas. (Phoenix Police Department)

(Phoenix Police Department)

PHOENIX – Amazing, family-oriented, smart and strong are some of the words Desiree Rivas’ family described the 17-year-old cheerleader Thursday at a press conference.

Her life was cut short on May 14 when she was shot and killed leaving a house party just after midnight near 91st Avenue and Toronto Way, according to Phoenix police.

Silent Witness and the FBI are asking for additional information on the shooting and are offering a $12,000 reward.

“The coordination between Silent Witness and FBI is a very unique relationship very strong relationship, Silent Witness was able to provide $2,000 as a reward, FBI came in and graciously assisted and made the award go up to $12000 by adding $10,000,” Phoenix Police Sergeant Brian Bower said in a press conference Thursday. 

“Silent Witness is there so we can be that gap that bridge between law enforcement and you helping out your community.”

Danny Rivas, Desiree’s father, said it’s so much he could say about what kind of person she was.

“She was amazing. The main thing that stuck with me was she’s very family oriented. She always talked about she couldn’t wait to be a mom,” Rivas said.

“She loved being an aunt to her nephews and nieces. She loved her tias. She loved being around family. She was just an amazing person if you ever got to meet her you would know how amazing she was and this is terrible.  

“She’s amazing and I will miss her and I’m sure all her family is and we just want justice,” Rivas said. 

The Cesar Chavez High School junior had a lot of plans for her senior year according to her parents, including trying out for cheer captain. Her father said their last conversation was about her going to business school and getting a realtor’s license.

There’s so many good memories that you just can’t pick one but I know that Desiree was just the type of person that would think of others before thinking of herself and she would give the best mother day messages to me. She would write a whole paragraph. I’m never going to get that again,” her mother Vanessa Gonzales said at the press conference. 

Desiree’s stepfather, Ricky Casillas, said her death hurts.

I have to walk past Desiree’s room. It just hurts so much and like I said nothing’s ever going to be the same,” Casillas said. “I mean there’s nothing anyone can do to get her back. Like everybody said if anyone knows any information at least grant us some peace. This is just not fair.”

Anybody with information is asked to call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446) for Spanish.

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‘We just want justice’: Family pleads for information on teen’s murder at Phoenix graduation party