Homicide Survivors advocate loses battle with cancer

2013-09-30T12:00:00Z 2013-10-02T08:09:18Z Homicide Survivors advocate loses battle with cancerBy Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Todd Blumhorst , an advocate with Homicide Survivors who specialized in unsolved cases, died Sunday. He was 39.

Blumhorst, who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, had been involved with the organization since moving to Tucson in 2001. He first began attending support groups for families of murder victims and then began volunteering with the organization.

In 2011, he became the first cold-case advocate for the organization, according to Star archives.

His commitment to helping families whose loved ones’ cases had gone cold stemmed from personal experience.

In September 1990, Blumhorst’s 21-year-old sister, Veronica, disappeared from the driveway of the family home in Mendota, Ill. She is presumed dead.

“I think that gave him insight to know what to say to our families that have these cases that are unsolved,” said Carol Gaxiola, director of Homicide Survivors. She said Blumhorst had the “compassion that comes from living this experience.”

Blumhorst, who was 16 at the time of his sister’s disappearance, never gave up searching for her and was active in helping organize a memorial and cadaver searches for her body.

“He was never gonna give up, and I think that’s one of the things that he expressed that tore his life apart, he kept saying ‘I’m not done here, I haven’t found her,’” Cyra Trujillo, one of Blumhorst’s colleagues, said.

In July, Blumhorst was diagnosed with a rare genetic cancer that started in his lung and spread throughout his body, making him paraplegic.

On Tuesday, he was told the cancer was terminal, Trujillo said.

Blumhorst was dedicated to doing whatever he could to make sure families knew that their loved ones’ cases weren’t forgotten, and to many of those he helped he became like a son, Trujillo said.

“Todd really, really was a unique soul to have the strength that he did and to use that as his ‘ammo’ he would say and to use it to help others keep moving forward,” Trujillo said.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Event Calendar

Today's events | Add an event

Most viewed:


Get weekly ads via e-mail