Our Team

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors supports the work of the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance. Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board.

Annette Bartlett – President
Mollie Barnes – Vice President
Lisa Dillon – Secretary
Donald Arquette – Treasurer
Gabino Venegas, Sr. – At-large
Rickford R. Parker – Board Member
Michael Stanton, PhD – Board Member
Nicole Johnson, MPA – Board Member


Staff

Day-to-day operations are led by the Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors. Our Executive Director also serves as program coordinator for VOCA (federal Victim of Crime Act) funded activities and as a victim advocate. Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources and filling out paperwork.

Patricia A Caristo – Executive Director

Bringing years of experience in police and private investigation, teaching investigation courses, developing an investigator-apprentice training program working on cold case investigations at no charge to families, and volunteering many hours to victim advocacy agencies (NM Survivors of Homicide, Rape Crisis Center), it became possible to join with Victim Advocate Joan Shirley, and professional advisor Gabino Venegas to transform NIA/NM into the Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death. Using the proceeds from the paid services of NIA/NM, grants, and donations and with the help of a volunteer Board of Directors, Pat was designated Executive Director and serves in that role to this date.

Joan Shirley – Certified Victims’ Advocate

Joan is the mother of Kevin Shirley, who, along with two friends, Matthew Hunt and Luis Garcia, was shot to death in the East mountains area in 1999. An arrest was made 7.5 years later and in trial in 2009; the killer was acquitted. Joan has worked with families of homicide since 2002.

Joan has been a nationally credentialed victim advocate through the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA) since 2005. She served as a board member for the NM Crime Victims Reparation Commission from 2009 to 2015 and is a member of the NETWORK, a collaborative of victim support agencies, steering committee. She is a long-standing appointee for the NM Intimate Partner Domestic Violence Death Review Team, is currently the team chair and serves on their “Family and Friends” committee, which works with the victims’ families. She is the lead facilitator for the Greater Albuquerque Chapter of the Compassionate Friends; support program for parents and family members who have lost children of any age to any cause.

Aussy Levi – Victim Advocate

Aussy Levi brings more than 20 years of professional experience in the for-profit and non-profit sectors, government sector, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), research, contract management, program quality analysis, and is an expert in mediation and conflict analysis and resolution. Aussy is an accomplished negotiator, translator, and human rights activist and advocate. She earned her undergraduate degrees with honors from Denver University and obtained her Master’s in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nova Southeastern University in Southern Florida. Currently she is completing her JD.

Keith Blumenfeld – Client Services Facilitator

Keith Blumenfeld received his second bachelor’s degree from UNM, and has 8 years of experience working with database and personnel management, graphic design, and website management.


History

The Resource Center for Victims of Violent Death evolved from the pro-bono division of NIA/NM, a New Mexico investigations agency providing no-fee investigations to families of unsolved homicides. NIA also served as a resource to and volunteered with New Mexico Survivors of Homicide (NMSOH) from 1998 to 2008.

Changes at NMSOH and the Office of the Medical Examiner (OMI) led to a lack of non-governmental services for victims of homicide in NM. However, NIA continued to provide free services to at least forty families of unsolved murders. In 2011, Pat Caristo, of NIA and Joan Shirley, formerly the victim advocate for NMSOH, met to develop NIA into a full-resource center for victims in order to bridge the gaps in services. In 2012 we were awarded 501(c)(3) status and in May 2012 we received a grant from the New Mexico Crime Victims Reparation Commission (NMCVRC). We began offering direct victim services in July 2012.