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News Articles - Part III
All articles & photos are © Ventura County Star, © Los Angeles Times & © The Ojai Valley News

Manley family files civil suit against Alvarez

By Lenny Roberts
Ojai Valley News

A year ago this week, scores of sheriff's personnel and hundreds of volunteers began an air and ground search of Ojai's backcountry for Kali Manley, a missing 14-year-old Oak View girl.

On the day after Christmas, the search ended when 22-year-old David Ramiro Alvarez led Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury, major crimes detectives and two defense attorneys to an unpopulated area near Pine Mountain and the body of the blond, blue-eyed Nordhoff High School freshman.

Manley, according to testimony from the county's chief medical examiner, had been strangled.

Now, just less than one year later, and even as Alvarez' attorneys are preparing for his Jan. 18 trial, Kali Manley's parents have filed a civil wrongful-death suit against Alvarez, who has pleaded not guilty to attempted rape and murder. The Manleys are seeking undisclosed exemplary and punitive damages, and funeral and burial expenses.

The lawsuit was filed in Ventura County Superior Court, just before the one-year statute of limitations would have expired, by the Manley family attorney, David Shain.

According to court papers, the suit alleges that Alvarez and others were aware of the location of Manley's body, but didn't tell the parents or law enforcement officials.

It is further alleged that Alvarez and others, whose names could be subsequently added to the lawsuit, conspired to hide evidence, and were in possession of evidence, and destroyed some evidence, including Manley's clothing.

"The actions of defendants, and each of them, were intentional and malicious and done for the purpose of causing plaintiffs to suffer humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress," the lawsuit alleges.

"Said defendants acted with knowledge that plaintiffs' emotional and physical distress would thereby increase, and with a wanton and reckless disregard of the consequences to plaintiffs." According to police reports, Manley was supposed to be spending the night at the home of a girlfriend when Alvarez, accompanied by Robert Miears, convinced her to leave the residence. Manley allegedly had met neither of the men before.

A short time later, Alvarez and Miears were reportedly seen inside Alvarez' green Toyota pickup at the Circle K in Mira Monte, where strawberry wine coolers were purchased. Witnesses said a blond girl sat between them. Investigators allege that Alvarez then drove to an unoccupied Woodland Avenue mobile home owned by his parents, at which point, as Miears would later tell investigators, Alvarez went into the master bedroom with Manley. Miears said that when he awoke the next day, both Alvarez and Manley were gone.

After attempting to locate their daughter, Manley's parents notified the Sheriff's Department that she had failed to return home and the search was undertaken. Louis "Chuck" Samonksy, the attorney who represented Alvarez at the time he was arrested on unrelated charges of brandishing a weapon and making terrorist threats against an Oak View woman on the night Manley disappeared, admitted to withholding information in an interview with the Ojai Valley News Dec. 30.

At the time, Samonsky explained that although Alvarez wanted to tell authorities where Manley's body could be found, Samonsky had recommended delaying the disclosure until a possible deal could be made with Bradbury to ensure that Alvarez would not be given the death penalty if convicted of Manley's murder.

After hearing Samonsky's proposal, just two days after Manley was reported missing, Bradbury refused to make a deal and the search continued.

In the Dec. 30 interview, Samonsky said he spent Christmas Day consulting with other attorneys and advisors about his ethical obligation, and said that as community outrage began to mount over his withholding of information, many local attorneys showed support, agreeing that it would be unethical to disclose the information. 

Others, however, told him that coming forward with what he knew was the moral thing to do.

Samonsky described divulging the information that his client knew the whereabouts of Manley's body as "a very difficult decision," and did so because of his "extreme" concern for the family. Asked if Samonsky could be ruled out as being included in the wrongful-death suit in the future, Shain said, "It is important to rule out Chuck. Any speculation about him should be put to bed immediately." However, Shain would not divulge the names of any of the other potential defendants.

"I really don't want to comment about the suit at this time, and won't have anything else to say until after the conclusion of the criminal trial. The lawsuit speaks for itself."

Hair may be key in Alvarez murder

by Lenny Roberts
Ojai Valley News

Did David Alvarez, accused of murdering 14-year-old Kali Manley, also attempt to force her to have sex with him prior to her strangulation death?

The question continues to loom large as the prosecution and defense ready for Alvarez's trial which has now been postponed until Feb. 22. 

Four pubic hairs, found at the scene where Manley was last known to be alive, may hold the key. The hair samples are currently being analyzed at a Northern California DNA-testing laboratory.

If found guilty of her murder, and the special allegation of attempted rape, Alvarez, now 23, could be sentenced to life in a California state prison without the possibility of parole.

The special allegation of attmepted rape was initially placed in jeopardy in July when the county's chief medical examiner testified that Manley's body displayed no indication of forced sex. "There is no physical evidence," Dr. David O'Halloran testified at the time, "but I can't say that someone didn't try to rape her." 

In August, the state attorney general's office issued a statement saying that it would not seek the death penalty against Alvarez if he were to be found guilty. The state took over the prosecution of the case after District Attorney Michael Bradbury said he was a friend of Alvarez's parents.

Alvarez has been in custody without bail since Dec. 21, 1998, and has pleaded not guilty to both crimes, although he led authorities to Manley's body five days after he was arrested on unrelated charges. 

Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley is weighing defense motions that will further delay the start of the trial, which had been scheduled to begin last week. Riley's ruling could come tomorrow when another hearing is scheduled. James Farley and Robert Schwartz, who are defending Alvarez, said Tuesday that even though they feel the hair should have been tested long ago, they will not request that the hair samples be inadmissable until the results of the DNA testing come back tomorrow.

"What we're saying is that both parties had answered that they were ready for trial, and then suddenly, after we started pretrial motions and were waiting to commence the jury trial, they realized that they had found something that they had had in their possession for 13 months, and sent it out for DNA," Schwartz said. "Depending upon how the DNA comes back, we may want to have it tested ourselves. We were put in the predicament that had we started a jury trial, we wouldn't have known the results of the tests because they had the hairs in their possession and hadn't done anything with them." 

Schwartz refused to comment on the claims of two women who claim Alvarez had forced sexual relations with them when they were teen-agers. Schwartz did confirm that a motion will be made Thursday for a separate trial on the charge Alvarez faces for making a terrorist threat. That charge is unrelated to the charges stemming from Manley's death. 

Schwartz also confirmed that the defense still plans to seek a change of venue. Manley was last seen alive by Robert Miears, in the company of Alvarez at the Woodland Avenue mobile home of Alvarez's parents. Miears had accompanied Alvarez and Manley to the Circle K in Mira Monte before going to the mobile home. 

According to investigators, the men met Manley at the Pegasus Street home of her girlfriend, where the girls had planned a sleepover. The girl hosting the sleepover later told investigators that, against her advice, Manley voluntarily left with the men to purchase strawberry wine coolers. 

Alvarez pleads guilty in Kali's murder
by Lenny Roberts © 02-25-2000 The Ojai Valley News

Days before his murder trial was set to begin, David Ramiro Alvarez admitted Friday that he had strangled 14-year-old Kali Manley to death just before Christmas 1998.

Alvarez plead guilty to first-degree murder in Ventura County Superior Court, after the prosecution agreed to drop a charge of attempted rape that had also been filed against him. 

Rape is a special circumstances that could have made Alvarez eligible for the death penalty. The district attorney agreed to drop other unrelated charges as well, leaving Alvarez to face 25 years to life, with the possibility of parole. According to court documents, Alvarez and Robert Miears showed up uninvited at the Mira Monte home of a girlfriend of Manley on the night of Dec. 19, 1998. The two girls had planned a sleepover. 

Alvarez reportedly convinced Manley to leave the Pegasus Street home, against her friend's advice, and eventually drove Manley and Miears to the nearby Circle K to purchase strawberry wine coolers. From there, the trio went to a Woodland Avenue mobile home owned by Alvarez's parents.

Later, Miears told major crimes investigators that Alvarez closed the master bedroom door, after announcing that he was going to have sex with Manley, and that when Miears awoke the following morning, Alvarez and Manley were gone.

Alvarez has denied that he forced sex upon Manley before he murdered the Nordhoff High School freshmen, leaving her body in a Maricopa highway drainage culvert.

During a preliminary hearing in July, the county's chief medical examiner said that although there were drugs and alcohol in Manley's system - and evidence of a struggle - her autopsy failed to prove that she was forced to have sex.

"There's no physical evidence," said Dr. David O'Halloran at that time. "But I can't say that someone didn't try to rape her."

As the result of that testimony, Superior Court Judge James P. Cloninger ruled in July that the attempted rape charge would stand, as would allegations that Alvarez brandished a handgun and threatened the life of a woman in the Circle K parking lot the night Manley was last seen alive.

All of those charges have been dropped as part of the plea bargain. Alvarez is due back in court for sentencing March 30.

Alvarez gets maximum sentence in Kali's murder 

By Michele Ball
Ojai Valley News 03-31-2000

Twenty-three year old David Ramiro Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison Thursday morning for the first-degree murder of Kali Manley on Dec. 19, 1998. 

Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley sentenced Alvarez in a small room limited to press and those close to both the Alvarez and Manley families. Escorted through a side door by Ventura County Sheriff's deputies, Alvarez glanced at members of his family before taking his seat between defense attorneys Robert Schwartz and James Farley. Alvarez appeared comfortable as he shared what appeared to be light conversation with Schwartz prior to court proceedings.

Judge Riley began by acknowledging the intensity of emotions on both the defendant's and the victim's sides, stating that the decorum of the courtroom must be maintained. 

In an effort to provide what Farley described as "peace of mind" to the Alvarez family, the attorney opened with a motion to release evidence for retesting. 

"The parents are concerned that if the evidence is not retested, this will follow him all the way into prison, making him a target," he explained.

Farley added that retesting would also provide the Alvarez's family with the truth of whether or not Alvarez actually sexually assaulted Kali Manley the night he killed her.

Although Alvarez has maintained he did not sexually assault Manley prior to killing her, evidence submitted in court, and sent for DNA testing, indicated that pubic hairs bearing Manley's vaginal secretions were found in the bedroom of the mobile home that he, Robert Miears and Manley visited that night.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Katz, representing the state of California, opposed the motion, stating that the Manley family deserved closure.

"Where does it end for the Manley family? It's a shame he has to try to fool people, even his own parents. I ask the court not to do it," Katz said. Farley stated that he disagreed vigorously.

"There's never going to be closure. We have everything for the victim's family. We have nothing for the defendant's family," he said. 

Riley denied the motion.

Reciting from a prepared statement, Katz reviewed numerous newspaper accounts where he said Alvarez showed no remorse for the murder of Manley and described Alvarez as "heartless, cruel, and inept," adding that he is "devoid of morality."

Slight whimpers could be heard throughout the courtroom as Kali Manley's sister, Chelsea, stood and offered a photo album that she said portrayed who Kali was. She described her sister's "fiery spirit" and her struggling years as a teen-ager.

Chelsea stated that she had always wondered what Kali would have been at different stages of her life, "... but now she will always be 14 to me," she said.

Holly Manley spoke softly about her daughter's spirit and her will to live. "It anguishes me knowing that she died such a violent death," she stated. "I will always have the memory of how she was found - nude, bloodied and cold."

Alvarez remained emotionless as he listened closely to further comments from Kali's father, Charles Manley, who firmly stated to the defendant that he had the ability to go on learning, reading, growing, and changing, unlike his daughter.

Manley described Alvarez's interest in young girls, stating that he pursued them knowing he had the ability to overpower them. "He's gotten away with this time and time again," Manley explained.

Characterizing the evidence of scalp hairs found at the trailer, he stated that there were hundreds of strands of Kali's hair which clearly show the intent to force her to have sex.

"There were so many hairs found that they said they thought someone had cleaned a brush," he said. Manley explained that it had to have taken Alvarez a full minute to kill his daughter, giving him 60 seconds to stop, 60 chances to change his mind, and enough time to even revive her, "... but he chose not to," he said.

Following comments from family members, Farley requested that the court hear from the defendant who had asked to speak from a multipage, self-prepared document, against his attorney's advice. Reciting his words fluidly, Alvarez stated that it was his belief that the pubic hairs were planted.

"After 13 months of no evidence, they suddenly appeared," he said. Alvarez stated that he believed that the hairs could have been taken from the samples officials obtained when he was arrested, or could have been taken from his cell.

He then directed his statements to the allegations that he had sexually assaulted Kali that night, stating that there were no scratches on his body to prove that she was fighting him off.

According to reports, Manley was spending the night at Ashley Helfrich's Pegasus Street home on Dec. 19 when Alvarez and friend Robert Miears showed up uninvited. 

Alvarez reportedly convinced Manley to leave with him and shortly afterward stopped at the Circle K Market in Mira Monte to purchase wine coolers. The threesome then went to Alvarez's parent's mobile home on Woodland Avenue where, as Miears later told investigators, Alvarez announced he would be in the master bedroom with Manley, where he intended to "f-- her." Miears later told Detective Daniel Thompson he had fallen asleep and when he awoke, found Alvarez and Manley had left.

On Dec. 26, 1998, five days after he was arrested on unrelated charges, Alvarez led law enforcement officials to a culvert in the Pine Mountain area where he had left Manley's body.

Days before his trial was to begin, Alvarez admitted that he had strangled the 14-year-old Nordhoff student and pleaded guilty to first-degree murder after the prosecution agreed to drop the charge of attempted rape that had also been filed against him.

The district attorney agreed to drop other unrelated charges as well, leaving Alvarez to face 25 years to life in prison. 

Dad talks of family's tough call on trial 
PLEA BARGAIN: They didn't want Kali Manley attacked by David Alvarez's counsel. 

By Bruce McLean
Staff writer Ventura County Star
Saturday April 1, 2000

After the sentencing of his 14-year-old daughter's killer, Charles Manley talked about one of the most difficult decisions of his life. 

His family, Manley said, knew David Alvarez would have been sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder and attempted rape. 

But they chose to accept a plea bargain that dropped the attempted rape charge, meaning Alvarez could get paroled after serving 21 years

"The only alternative the defense had was to attack my daughter," Manley said Thursday of the family's reason for accepting the plea and avoiding a trial. "I know he will die in prison." 

Manley could be right.

Over the past eight years, the state board of prison terms has reviewed approximately 16,000 cases involving life sentences for paroles, said Denise Schmidt, a spokeswoman for the board. 

Only 1 percent have been granted, Schmidt said. 

The board takes into account numerous factors when making its decision, Schmidt said, including the prisoner's history before incarceration, behavior in prison, the nature of the crime and the opportunities available to the person outside of prison. 

But members also look at the prisoner's attitude toward the crime. 

"They look for indications of remorse, whether or not he understands what caused him to commit his crime and what steps he's taken to make sure it will never happen again," Schmidt said. "Accepting responsibility is crucial." 

By that measurement, Alvarez likely did himself little good during his sentencing hearing Thursday. 

Defiant to the end, he claimed he did not attempt to rape Manley, despite evidence to the contrary, claimed evidence was planted, and claimed he did not choke Manley to death, suggesting she died from exposure and a drug overdose after he dumped her body in a drainage pipe.

But even if Alvarez were to be paroled, the Manley family has taken steps to see that he will have troubles.

The family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Alvarez in December. 

Outside court Thursday, Manley said his reasons were not financial gain. 

Knowing the Alvarez family has money -- they own a chain of restaurants -- Manley said he wanted to make sure if any was left to Alvarez, it would go to paying off any judgment. 

"I want to remove any option of him ever receiving a penny from his family," Manley said. 

Manley Memorial Trolley Stop nears completion 

By Lenny Roberts
Ojai Valley News - 05-19-2000

What started out as an idea to place a simple bus bench in front of Nordhoff High School in memory of former Oak View teen Kali Manley has evolved into a $50,000 trolley stop that should be completed in time for June graduation.

Manley was murdered in December 1998.

Thursday morning, four, four-sided 1/4 inch steel columns, featuring butterflies in various stages of development, were erected on the concrete foundation.

Chuck Manley, Kali's father, said the trolley stop is a nice tribute to his daughter, who had an infatuation with butterflies.

"Kali would be overjoyed, and I'm just tickled pink because it will be a physical reminder to students that they are not immortal. 

"The 14- and 15-year-old kids just have no awareness of their mortality, and therefore, they do risky things," Manley said. "They'll see this trolley stop every day, and we're comforted by that."

Constructing the trolley stop has been a monumental task, with mounting expenses and many permit requirements, and Manley believes that it could not have become a reality without the support of the community.

"We still need a few donations and we're looking for a really good stone mason who could volunteer a Saturday afternoon," Manley said.

When completed, the structure will feature natural pine lumber under a red tile roof and will measure 20 feet by 16 feet with flower beds on either side. Along with a small plaque, it will also contain a time capsule to be filled with memorabilia from Kali's era submitted by the Nordhoff High School Leo Club, the Manley family and her classmates.

The project was initiated by Rick Carreon, Nordhoff maintenance worker and on-campus advisor for the Leo Club, three months after Kali's December 1998 death.

"I thought it was a little early to contact Mr. Manley to try to do something like this, but he immediately supported it and has been an active member and a partner," said Carreon.

"I also think that this is a monument to all of the people who helped at that time. We need to remember that the community put many hours into looking for her."

Carreon modestly added that it was his idea to include the time capsule.

"I thought that would be a nice touch, and it will be sealed with a rendering of one of Kali's butterflies." Manley and Carreon gave credit to Jan Sanchez, the artist who sculpted the steel, Marc Whitman, who served as project architect, and contractor Clint Vocke.

They further acknowledged The Ojai Valley Inn, Ojai Lumber, Ojai Spas, Ventura Steel, Industrial Bolts, The Iron Bender, The Ojai Youth Foundation, The Ojai Optimist Club, Southern California Water Company and scores of individuals for making generous donations to the project. Anyone wishing to help finish the Kali Manley Memorial Trolley Stop may call Carreon at 640-0977.

"She was crazy about butterflies, and the blue metal is the color of her bedroom. The artist didn't know that," Manley said.


Girl's killer ignores civil lawsuit 
DAVID ALVAREZ: Parents of slain teen want to make sure he's never paroled. 

By Amy Bentley
Staff writer Ventura County Star
June 27, 2000

Convicted killer David Alvarez of Ojai has ignored a civil lawsuit accusing him of wrongful death in the murder of a 14-year-old Oak View girl, leading to a default judgment against him. 

Charles and Holly Manley filed their wrongful-death lawsuit against Alvarez on Dec. 17 last year while Alvarez was in the county jail awaiting trial for the murder of their daughter, Kali, 14. Alvarez pleaded guilty in February to strangling the teen and dumping her nude body in a drain pipe near Pine Mountain, 30 miles north of Ojai in December 1998. 

Alvarez was served in jail with a copy of the suit in March, three months after it was filed in Ventura County Superior Court. He has not responded to the suit and apparently has not hired an attorney to represent him, said David Shain, the Manleys' lawyer. 

Earlier this month, Shain filed a request for a judge to find Alvarez in default for failing to respond, and a default judgment was entered for the Manleys, Shain said. The default strips Alvarez of his right to now answer the suit, but the Manleys must still go to court to prove damages, Shain said. 

Earlier this month, Shain filed a request for a judge to find Alvarez in default for failing to respond, and a default judgment was entered for the Manleys, Shain said. The default strips Alvarez of his right to now answer the suit, but the Manleys must still go to court to prove damages, Shain said. 

Nevertheless, Shain said the Manleys don't expect to collect a dime from Alvarez, who is serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. 

But Shain said it's still worth it to the slain girl's parents to proceed with the civil case. 

Completing the case will help the family to heal, Shain said. And, he said, the Manleys want to do anything they can to prevent Alvarez from being paroled. 

Among the issues the state parole board considers in a prisoner's bid for parole is whether the inmate would have the means to support himself if he were released. Alvarez's parents, Eugene and Marie Alvarez of Ojai, own a chain of chicken restaurants, Shain said, noting that the parents might leave their son a large sum of money in 21 years or so, when he's eligible for parole hearings. But if David Alvarez has a large civil judgment on the books against him, "It would likely dissuade his parents from leaving him a dime,"Shain said, thus possibly reducing his chance for parole, Shain said. 

Meanwhile, Alvarez has filed papers with the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Ventura announcing his intent to appeal his sentence in the criminal case. He has not yet filed the paperwork stating the grounds for his appeal. 

Slain Teen's Parents Awarded $1 Million 
Lawsuit: Default judgment is issued in wrongful-death action against David Alvarez, convicted of killing Kali Manley. 

Staff writer Los Angeles Times 
September 9, 2000

Although they have little hope of getting any money, the parents of slain Oak View teen Kali Manley were awarded $1.01 million Monday in a wrongful-death lawsuit against convicted killer David Alvarez. 

The 24-year-old Ojai man, who pleaded guilty to murder earlier this year and is serving a prison sentence of 25 years to life, never responded to the lawsuit. As a result, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Henry Walsh issued a default judgment against Alvarez and ordered him to pay $500,000 in general damages to Charles and Holly Manley. 

Walsh also awarded $500,000 in punitive damages and $10,000 to recover funeral and other costs related to the December 1998 slaying of the couple's 14-year-old daughter. 

"We don't expect to see a dime," said Charles Manley, an Oxnard schoolteacher who wanted to prevent Alvarez from inheriting any money from his wealthy family. 

The lawsuit, he said, was mainly to ensure that Alvarez couldn't persuade a parole board someday that he has funds to get by outside prison. 

Ventura attorney David Shain, who represented the Manleys, determined that Alvarez has no money of his own and will probably never be able to pay the judgment. But he characterized the ruling as a victory nonetheless. 

"I think the Manleys feel really good about it," Shain said. "This was never about money." 

A Nordhoff High School freshman, Kali Manley disappeared on Dec. 20, 1998, after leaving a girlfriend's house in Meiners Oaks with Alvarez and his friend, Robert Miears. They bought wine coolers at a nearby convenience store and went to a trailer owned by Alvarez's family. According to Miears, Manley and Alvarez went into a back bedroom. She was never seen alive again. 

Her disappearance prompted a massive search of the Ojai Valley. During those days, Alvarez reportedly told a detective that if he wanted to find Manley he should "put her on a milk carton." According to court records he also stated: "I don't really care. I don't even know that girl. So it doesn't matter to me." 

But on Dec. 26, Alvarez led authorities into the back country to a large drainage pipe cradling the girl's naked body. She died from asphyxiation, the coroner said, noting wounds that may have been caused while fighting off a sexual assault. 

Alvarez, a high school dropout with a history of drug abuse, was charged with murder and attempted rape by state prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to the charges in February and received a prison sentence a month later. 

During the sentencing hearing, Charles Manley lashed out at Alvarez and called him a monster with no remorse for the life he destroyed. 

Alvarez stood up later in the hearing and against his lawyers' advice denied that he ever attempted to rape the girl. He blamed his actions on a two-day cocaine binge and suggested Manley died from a drug overdose or possibly exposure to the cold--not from being strangled. 

Alvarez is trying to appeal his conviction, although his appellate lawyers said in a recent brief that there are no arguable issues. The 2nd District Court of Appeal is expected to issue an opinion on the matter in coming weeks. 

The Manleys filed their wrongful-death action last December. The lawsuit alleged that Alvarez is civilly responsible for the girl's death and should be made to pay for the emotional distress and loss of companionship by her family. 

Ventura defense lawyer James Farley said Alvarez decided not to fight the civil lawsuit. 

"He just wanted to let it go," Farley said. 

The suit also alleges that Alvarez and other unnamed individuals hid or destroyed evidence to keep the girl's death a secret. Shain said he didn't have enough evidence to pursue a wrongful-death case against the other individuals. 

As for Alvarez, Shain said the judgment against him will help the Manleys move on with their lives. 

"I think it was a strong and appropriate award," Shain said. "I think it also closes the circle for the family and allows them to heal." 

Kali Manley memorial dedicated 

By Lenny Roberts
Staff writer The Ojai Valley News
January 2001

As final holiday preparations were being made during Christmas week 1998, the Ojai community had unknowingly lost one of its children.

What would soon be learned was that David Ramiro Alvarez had strangled Oak View teen Kali Manley in a Mira Monte mobile home and left her body in a Maricopa Highway drainage culvert 35 miles north of town.

Within a week after they reported her missing, Chuck and Holly Manley were told by authorities that their worst nightmare had become a reality: Their 14-year-old daughter would never return to their Larmier Avenue home and her countless drawings of butterflies.

The massive search that united hundreds of volunteers with teary-eyed law enforcement officers, many of whom worked without pay on Christmas Day, ended tragically the day after Christmas when Alvarez led an entourage of officials to the remote site near Pine Mountain. Not since the murder of Sheriff's Deputy Peter John Aguirre in July 1996 had the community come together in such grief.

Over the weekend, through the efforts of the Ojai Lions Club and the offshoot Nordhoff High School (NHS) Leo Club, the Kali Manley Memorial Trolley Stop on Maricopa Highway was dedicated.

"This is a beautiful trolley stop and memorial, and we're quite honored to have it," Chuck Manley said Wednesday as members of the Leo Club prepared the area for Saturday's dedication. "This is not only a memorial to Kali, but a reminder to the community that evil does exist in this valley and a reminder to the students about their vulnerability. It's also a reminder to the Sheriff's Department to take youth crime very seriously in the Ojai Valley."

The rain-protected trolley stop, with its ornate butterfly-laden steel supports, took nearly two years and upwards of $30,000 in cash contributions and labor and materials donations, according to Rick Carreon of Ojai Lions Club. Carreon is a non-teaching staff member at Nordhoff who supervised the trolley stop project. "We knew that a trolley stop was needed and started in 1999 with numerous donations from valley people," Carreon recalled. "The students named it after Kali as a reminder that we are not immortal and to make sure that her life doesn't go unnoticed. It's kind of a healing thing to bring people together, and we tied it into the Leo Club's community service projects."

Leo Club President April Logan, a 17-year-old NHS senior, organized Wednesday's cleanup, assisted by fellow members Erica Waugh, 16, April Le May, 15, Meagan Schreiber, 18, Carin Gross, 17, and Amanda Vogelbaum, 17. 

 © 2001 The Ojai Valley News 

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