Vigil held for murdered Iranian activist near birthday

June 26, 2012 8:30:02 PM PDT
Despite public outcry, and a massive reward for information, the mysterious murder of a medical research student remains unsolved.

Six months ago, Gelareh Bagherzadeh was gunned down near her Tanglewood home. This month, she would have been 31.

Friends and family of the victim gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate her life, share memories but also make yet another plea for help in catching her killer.

It was a solemn occasion, but one that also included birthday wishes.

Gelareh Bagherzadeh would have just turned 31 and would have been just two months shy of graduating with a medical degree. But all her efforts, her dreams ended in January with gunshots. It's been a hard six months.

"It's the not knowing that's driving them crazy," Bagherzadeh's friend, Kathy Soltani, said.

Since then, Houston police have been baffled.

"We don't know the motive in this case. We don't know if it was a robbery, we don't know if it was a road rage, we don't know if it was political," HPD Homicide Sr. Office Richard Bolton said.

Bagherzadeh was an advocate for Iranian women's rights and there has been talk of possible connections to the Iranian government.

"Nothing has led us to believe that they have anything to do with this murder," Bolton said.

What they do know is Bagherzadeh was on the phone with a former boyfriend when she was shot through the passenger side window of her car, just feet away from her parents town home; and now six months later, there is still so much hurt and hope that reminders like her favorite song, giant photos or a huge $200,000 reward will give police the lead they need.

"We're just desperate for a little tip, that little tip that some people might not think is important, might be just the one tip that will solve the case," Soltani said.

That $20,000 Crime Stoppers reward is the largest in the program's history.

You can read more about Bagherzadeh and the case at onlyjustice.org, a website her created by her family.


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