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.

Mollie Barnes – President
Cindy Ortega – 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.

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.

Emeri Martinez – Victim Advocate

As of July 1, 2020 we added a new support victim advocate. Emeri Martinez, graduate of NM Highlands University as Bachelor of Social work and with an Associate’s degree in Childhood Development, is also the sister of a younger brother taken in violence in 2018. She will be making contact with our clients to introduce herself.


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.