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El Monte plans candlelight vigil for school board member killed in Mexico

January 4, 2010 |  7:37 am

El Monte plans to hold a candlelight vigil tonight for Bobby Salcedo, the school board member kidnapped and killed by suspected drug cartel members in Mexico last week.

Salcedo's death has shocked El Monte, where the educator was a popular figure. He was part of a group of men abducted from a bar in Gomez Palacio and later found shot to death. He was on vacation with his wife.

The vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the football stadium at Mountain View High School.

Salcedo had no ties to narcotics trafficking, his family and friends said. He is believed to be the first U.S. elected official killed in the 4-year-old spasm of carnage in Mexico.

Salcedo had deep ties to the central Mexican city where he died. The school administrator, who was born and raised in California, was a past president of the South El Monte-Gomez Palacio sister cities organization and raised money for scholarships, clinics, firefighters, orphanages and playgrounds.

He met his wife, Betzy, in 1999 when she traveled from Gomez Palacio to Southern California on a sister-city exchange student scholarship. The couple was visiting her family when he was abducted and shot to death.

At Mountain View High School, where Salcedo was once student body president, then later football coach and assistant principal, he was remembered as an involved administrator, attending sporting events, dressing up on Halloween and exercising often on the school's track.

Former El Monte Police Chief Ken Weldon described Salcedo as conscientious and hard-working, a "giver" and a leader. "This is a dagger in the hearts of a lot of people," he said.

-- Shelby Grad

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