Melida Delgado needed to do a couple of loads of laundry, and her 8-year-old daughter, Jennifer, decided to tag along with her when she went to the laundromat. After eating dinner on the evening of June 6, 1988, the pair walked to the Westrock Coin-op Wash & Dry, located across the street from their home in San Antonio, Texas. Jennifer’s father, Rogelio Delgado, stayed at the house with the couple’s younger children.
It was a slow Monday night at the laundromat. While their clothes were in the washer, Jennifer and Melida sat in the waiting area and chatted about what they planned to do that summer. Jennifer, who had just finished second grade, told her mother that she wanted to spend at least part of her vacation with her grandmother in Cotulla, Texas. She would never get the chance.
Around 8:00 pm, a teenage boy entered the laundromat and headed straight for the restroom. Once he came out of the restroom, he walked over to one of the vending machines and attempted to buy a can of soda. The machine took his money but didn’t dispense any soda, enraging the teenager. He kicked the vending machine and only grew angrier when it refused to give him his money back. He then turned his anger on Melida.
The boy walked up to Melida out of the blue and st*abbed her in the shoulder. She was so scared that she yelled for Jennifer to go get her dad from home. When the little girl jumped up right away, the angry teen lunged at her and st*abbed her in the stomach as she ran for the front door.
A man attacked a mother and daughter at the laundromat. He then ran out and jumped into a small silver car being driven by someone who was not known. A few people saw the car speed out of the parking lot, but none of them knew that the passenger had just beaten up two people. No one saw the number plate number or the person driving the car.
As soon as the attacker fled the scene, Melida grabbed her daughter and started to run, hoping to get to the safety of their home. As her adrenaline started to wear off, Melida realized that she and Jennifer were both bleeding heavily. Both victims collapsed in the front yard of a neighboring house.
That night, Rogelio was still at home with his younger kids. He heard screaming outside, but he didn’t know it was his wife and daughter. He went outside to see if anyone needed help and was shocked to see Jennifer and Melida. While they waited for the ambulance, he did what he could to make them feel better.
They were rushed to the Wilford Hall Air Force Medical Centre, where Melida was quickly put on a sta*ble position. Jennifer’s wound was much worse, though, and she was pronounced dead at 11 pm, despite the best efforts of the doctors.
The San Antonio Police Department opened a search for the k*iller right away, but they didn’t have much information. She told them she didn’t know who attacked her and didn’t think she had ever met him before. She didn’t pay much attention to him until she heard him kick the soda machine. She wasn’t ready when he attacked her out of the blue. At first, she didn’t even know he had a knife on him. “It happened so fast I didn’t really see it.”
She believed the ki*ller was about 17 years old and that he wore jeans and a blue and white Hawaiian shirt. His hair was shoulder-length and curly. He had been small, maybe 5 feet 3 inches tall, and weighed about 130 pounds. Right after the attack, he got into the passenger side of a small silver car that some witnesses thought was a Honda. The car went west on U.S. 90 and then disappeared. The police didn’t have much to go on.
The police searched the laundrette for any clues that could help them figure out who ki*lled Jennifer. In order to find fingerprints that would help them catch the ki*ller, they checked the vending machine and all the money that was in it. They couldn’t find any evidence that would help them.
Detectives set up a hypnosis session for Melida in order to learn more about who ki*lled Jennifer. She didn’t remember much more than what she had already told police, but she could describe the man’s face so well that they called in a police sketch artist. Police got hundreds of tips from people who thought they could identify the attacker after they made a composite sketch of him and shared it with the public.
By following up on every tip they got, investigators were able to quickly make a list of 17 possible suspects. Detectives interviewed each of the men and came up with a short list of three possible suspects. In the end, though, they were able to prove that none of the men were responsible for the mur*der and all of them were ruled out as suspects.
As leads for Jennifer’s mur*der stopped coming in, the investigation began to slow down. Detectives said they had followed every possible lead but still didn’t know who committed the horrible crime.
Jennifer went to Westwood Terrace Elementary School, and her classmates were shocked when she was ki*lled. In October 1988, the school’s Parent Teacher Association said they would give a reward for information that would help catch and convict Jennifer’s k*iller. Their hope was that the reward would help detectives find new clues. Some tips were sent in, but none of them helped find the ki*ller, and the case eventually went cold.
Every so often, detectives would look over Jennifer’s case file in the hopes of finding something they missed the first time around. Every once in a while, one of the local newspapers would write an article about the case to remind people that the k*iller had never been caught. This would usually lead to a few possible leads, but none of them ever led to the k*iller.
The case went on for decades with no progress. One of Jennifer’s old classmates from Westwood Terrace Elementary School decided in 2021 that she had had enough of waiting for justice. Christopher Palmer knew it was unlikely that the k*iller would ever be caught, but he still wanted the people of San Antonio to remember his old friend. He began an effort to have a part of Westrock Drive named “Jennifer Sue Delgado Memorial Way.”
Chris, who was only 8 years old when Jennifer died, told the press that he would never forget her. “I remember her from class pictures. She wore this cute little red dress that looked like it was from Mexico.” I remember that she was a nice little girl.
Christie wasn’t old enough to understand how final d*eath is at the time of the mu*rder. “I had no idea what to think.” I knew she was not there. At age 8, though, I didn’t think, “This is it, her life is over, she’s not going to grow up.”
Years later, when he was a parent, he understood how bad things really were. “It’s hard for me to think about losing my daughter at that age, and I can’t even imagine what Jennifer’s parents went through.” He was also horrified by how violent and random the crime was. “To this day, I still don’t get how someone could do that to an adult, let alone a child.”
Jennifer and Faith Menchacha met in kindergarten and quickly became best friends. Faith had never forgotten about her childhood friend, and neither had Christopher. “She was a breath of fresh air; always happy and smiling…”It breaks my heart that she couldn’t go through all the things a girl should go through. She agreed with Christopher’s idea for the memorial in every way.
Melissa Cabello Harvada, who is on the San Antonio City Council, agreed with Christopher that Jennifer’s memory should be honoured. “It was a terrible tragedy that we must never forget. This case must not become another cold case like so many others, and I thank Mr. Palmer for bringing it to my attention so that I can help in any way I can.” A part of Westrock Drive near where the crime happened was to be named “Jennifer Sue Delgado Memorial Way.” The City Council agreed with the plan.
After his plan was approved, Christopher said, “I just hope that people who drive by the signs take a moment to learn about Jennifer and become more appreciative of life.” Yes, Faith was also glad to hear that the plan had been turned down. “It means a lot to me because Jennifer never got peace.”
Not content to stop with the highway designation, Christopher decided to start the Jennifer Sue Delgado Memorial Foundation. Through the foundation, he was able to raise money to buy books for each of the children attending Westwood Terrace Elementary School. Each book had a picture of Jennifer and an inscription saying it was donated in her memory.
Jennifer’s case was covered extensively by the news media after Christopher started his campaign, but the crime remains unsolved. Despite the passage of time, investigators believe that someone has the information needed to finally get justice for Jennifer, and they continue to hope that someone will come forward and help them close this case.
Jennifer Sue Delgado was just 8 years old when she was s*tabbed to de*ath by a ki*ller who remains unidentified. Jennifer was a sweet and friendly little girl who had been looking forward to her summer vacation when her life was suddenly stolen from her. Her ki*ller was described as being around 17 years old in 1988; he was around 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighed 130 pounds. On the night of the mur*der, he was wearing blue jeans and a blue and white Hawaiian shirt. He fled the crime scene in a small silver car driven by a second unknown person. If you have any information about Jennifer’s m*urder, please contact the San Antonio Police Department at 210–207–7635.