Family holding out hope for answers on anniversary of newlywed’s death

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Judy Hunt and Angie Wesp have been making the same trip to the same tree along Lake Nokomis for nearly six years.

On each visit, the mother and sister of Elisa Gomez tie ribbons on the tree planted in memory of the 47-year-old who was found dead in her home just hours after getting married on Oct. 10, 2016. 

Their visit to the tree on Monday was the first since Minneapolis Police reopened the case, which had initially been closed as a suicide.

In August, police agreed to re-examine the circumstances around Gomez’s death after 5 INVESTIGATES asked about inconsistencies in the case and a lack of follow-up by detectives.

But Hunt and Wesp said their semi-annual ritual of tying pink and purple ribbons on the tree’s branches felt much like all of the other times.

“Knowing the case is reopened helps, but until I see something done, I think it’s going to feel the same every year until we can celebrate some justice for her,” Wesp said. “It’s really hard every year.”

At last check, a Minneapolis Police spokesperson would only say the case is active and ongoing. Gomez’s husband has never been named a suspect and has repeatedly denied any involvement in her death.

“I’m, of course, very happy that it’s reopened, but are they doing anything? Because we’ve been through this before,” Hunt said.

As 5 INVESTIGATES reported, an investigator with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and its Office of Justice Programs wrote a memo to MPD in 2019 citing numerous deficiencies in the department’s handling of Gomez’s death. 

Emails also confirm a member of the U.S. Department of Justice called Hunt about her daughter’s case in May 2021 as part of a wide-ranging investigation of MPD.

For now, Gomez’s family says they’re holding out hope.

“I think hope is all we have right now. If you don’t have that, then you’ve given up,” Wesp said. “There’s no way we’re giving up.”