FERRIER FILES: Hispanic Cold Case in Nashville leads to better relationship with police

(Fox 17 News)

La Hacienda Taqueria on Nolensville road was a gamble in 1992. The first authentic mexican restaurant in Nashville.

Now 24 years later, the little taco stand now seats 130 people it is attached to a market, the family also produces tortillas for businesses in 7 states.

This is the American dream -- if it was not for one nightmare that still hasn't ended.

In 2006 Aureliano Ceja was bludgeoned to death.

The 83 year old had no enemies, in fact, he was by all accounts a joy.

“I miss him. A lot of times he would call me in the morning and then again in the evening, it is hard not hearing his voice always laughing making jokes. He was a great dad, grandfather and husband,” Ceja's daughter Lillian Tepez said.

Ceja’s murder was a jolt, at one point 130 members of the Hispanic community met with police.

It was the beginning of a new era.

Now, there are Hispanic speaking patrol officers, detectives, counselors and district attorneys. Every stop on the way to justice.

“It’s letting them know we are here and we are here to help them out, and we do care for them, we do care and more people are coming forward and reporting crime,” Metro Nashville Detective Luis Lopez said.

Metro Police even sponsored a "Day of the Dead" altar -- "El Dia de Los Muertos" is a Mexican holiday that not just honors, but also celebrates the dead.

Six crime victims decorate this altar. It is sad, with mostly young people, four of whom are under 25. Four of the six crimes are solved -- that is evidence of the new trust in police.

And even after 11 years, there is faith.

We know we are not alone and the family is thanking police.

"We have faith it is going to be closed, that there will be justice that’s what we want. To be at peace to be at peace more than anything,” Tepez said.

As proof that the Hispanic community is more comfortable with police, so far this year 1,500 crime victims have asked for a Metro Nashville Police interpreter.

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