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Vigil honors woman dragged, killed in hit-and-run crash

By Alyssa Flores

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    FRESNO, California (KFSN) — Gathered near the corner where 29-year-old Monique Contreraz was killed, her sister, Janay Conley, struggled to speak through tears.

“This has been absolutely devastating to my family. I can’t explain,” said Janay Conley. “I keep asking myself what could I have done differently? What could I have done? How could I have helped?”

Monique, along with her life partner and dog, lived on the streets in northwest Fresno.

“She had some bad decisions but that did not change who she was in her heart,” said Dez Martinez with the organization We Are Not Invisible.

Police say Monique was pushing a shopping cart and walking her dog on a leash at the intersection at Herndon and Milburn when she was hit by 38-year-old Shawn Ginder’s pickup truck. She was dragged for eight miles until the suspect left her in the parking lot of the La Quinta Inn.

Those who love Monique can only hope she didn’t suffer long.

“I hope she didn’t feel any pain,” said Dez. “I hope that she didn’t experience the fear of being trapped under the car or anything.”

Authorities launched a manhunt, which spanned across county lines eventually leading to a home in Madera County.

Police say they were preparing to tell Ginder to come out when he jumped out of a third-story window. He’s still hospitalized in critical condition but will eventually be booked into jail.

Now, Monique’s family is hoping the tragedy prompts people to think about the homeless in a different light.

“You see somebody on the streets, ask them, ‘Are you, ok sir? Are you ok ma’am?’ It is very easy for any one of us,” said Janay. “We can all fall on hard times.”

Wednesday night’s vigil honored not only Monique, but the other people who lived and died on the streets of Fresno.

“When we think about unhoused and when we think about people on the streets, that’s not just anybody,” said Janay. “That is somebody’s baby. That’s somebody’s brother. That is somebody’s sister. That is somebody’s daughter.”

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