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California mother killed by lawnmower, family demands justice from city
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California mother killed by lawnmower, family demands justice from city

A California woman was killed after being run over by a lawnmower. The woman's family is demanding justice over the tragic death.

Around 12:00 p.m. on July 8, a homeless woman was run over and killed by a lawnmower that was part of a landscaping contractor hired by the city of Modesto.

The body of Christine Chavez, 27, was found in Beard Brook Park in Modesto, California.

Chavez was reportedly sleeping in a patch of tall grass at the park. A landscaping employee was driving a John Deere tractor with a pull-behind mower and allegedly ran over Chavez. The unidentified worker called 911. When first responders arrived, Chavez was pronounced dead.

The New York Post reported, "The unidentified worker said he didn’t see the sleeping woman until he 'noticed a body in the grass he had already made a pass through,' Modesto police said."

The victim's family said Christine's body parts were left in the 12-acre park.

The woman's father, Christopher Chavez, told KTXL, "There were many pieces of (her remains) around there and I called the police. I went there and I still have pieces of bones, like pieces of her skull and some teeth. It's terrible."

Christine’s sister, Rosalinda Chavez, explained, "They left big (pieces) of her all over the place, just covered up with the grass. We have to go see the place because we wanted some kind of closure, and to be right there, looking at the ground, and then all of a sudden, seeing (pieces) of her, is horrible."

Josefina Chavez, Christine's mother, said, "I am sad for what happened to my daughter, and we want justice for the way that she died."

Christine's older brother, Randy Chavez, said, "She didn’t deserve that for that reason, for being homeless. My sister was loved. The only thing she wanted was to be free.”

"We want ordinances to change so it doesn’t happen again," he demanded. "Regardless if they are homeless, they are still people and should be treated the same as any other people."

Grover Landscaping Services, Inc. said in a statement: "In a dry, overgrown area, our operator discovered the body of a woman impacted by the pull-behind mower, at which time he contacted the Modesto Police Department."

Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen said, "I'm truly sorry about what happened."

Dez Martinez, founder of the Fresno-based homeless advocacy group We Are Not Invisible, said at a recent Modesto city council meeting, "What I would advocate for right now in Modesto is a safe camping site, immediately. Safe camping for people who want care, who want help. They need to be safe from being raped, safe from being murdered, safe from being beat up, safe from being run over."

Chavez leaves behind her 9-year-old daughter.

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