I am writing this letter on behalf of the Pastora family, my family, the family who is still grieving the loss of our lovely Casandra Pastora, our beautiful young niece, daughter, cousin, sister, granddaughter, and mother-to-be.

I am writing on behalf of all the ones who have lost their lives to mental health.

Here I am after almost seven months since losing our beautiful Casandra after she was detained at West Valley Detention Center, waiting for answers on how she died, waiting for those responsible ones to explain what happened to our Casandra and her unborn baby. 

Casandra suffered from mental health but was able to perform and live a normal and peaceful daily life. Mental health has taken one of us, as well as someone else’s loved one.

As a mother of three, it is hard to talk to our children about mental health. But our children are directly affected by this issue because they have lost friends and loved ones from mental health. 

Make no mistake that my heart is hurting by the loss of my niece Casandra, but the strength this loss has generated is so strong that I feel it is fair to fight for changes in the system. 

As family members when we call 9-1-1 for help at the time when our loved ones suffer an episode, we expect first responders to be capable and well trained to handle a mental health patient. 

Do we ever imagine something will go wrong, so wrong that our loved ones will be pronounced dead in the next 72 hours? 

This for sure never crossed our minds. Sadly, for us and for many other families who have lost their loved ones to mental health while in custody, it is too late. 

I am asking you and anyone up there capable to stand up and scream out loud, to save the lives of those who are not able to speak for themselves. 

Please help me to make others conscious about the need of new reforms and excellent training to deal with mental inmates/patients and provide safe and fair treatment. Help me to raise my voice, help me to help the voices of all those unable to speak for themselves. 

I write this on behalf of my forever love Casandra and all those who have lost their lives.

 

Claudia Pastora

Chino Hills

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