The family of a 64-year-old woman fatally stabbed while walking her two dogs in the La Sierra neighborhood of Riverside Saturday is demanding answers.
Ke Chieh Meng, of Riverside, was found on the ground in the area of Golden Avenue and Stonewall Drive, bleeding from her abdomen and suffering from stab wounds, police said. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.
“They say time heals everything,” Meng’s son, Yi Bai, said. “I don’t know whether that’s gonna be true or not.”
The bereaved family is trying to make sense of the crime, though Riverside police described the incident as a “random attack.” Although Meng is from China, police say they do not believe race was a factor, despite a nationwide spike in violence and racism against Asian Americans.
“This is a tragedy, a real tragedy,” Bai said. “My mom, she is — everybody says it like a cliche, she was the most loving person — but she really was.”
Surveillance video captured the moment the suspect approached Meng from behind.
A 23-year-old homeless woman, named Darlene Stephanie Montoya, was arrested in the case on suspicion of murder, a weapons violation, and being under the influence of an illegal substance, according to police. She was being held without bail.
Montoya was also arrested — then released — less than a week before the stabbing, on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, after allegedly attacking a woman with a skateboard. Due to the current emergency bail schedule instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic, police say she was released with a notice to appear in court.
“They should have never let her out,” Bai said. “We are definitely going to be seeking some legal help because we do not think that should’ve happened.”
Meng moved to Riverside from China 11 years ago to provide a better life for her family, her son said.
“She came here for me. She came here only for me. She had a perfect life in China,” Bai said. “Why did she come here? She came here for me to get a better education, for me to be able to live out my American dream.”