Rodolfo "Rudy" Cardenas
December 30, 1960 - February 17th, 2004
A beloved son, father and grandfather
43 Years Old
Rudy Cardenas was a 43-year-old loving father of 5. Rudy was born in McAllen, TX, and moved to California as a child.
He was the youngest of 7 children. He spent much of his life between San Jose and Bakersfield. He would often go to Bakersfield to spend time with his mother and help with any house repairs she needed. Everyone that knew Rudy, loved him. He had a lightheartedness about him and loved joking around. Our dad would always help anyone with anything, without hesitation. He was very charismatic and truly liked by everyone he came in contact with.
Just like anyone else, he had his flaws but he tried his best to make sure those close to him felt loved. Our dad made sure to tell you he loved you and he showed it in his actions, he always came thru when you needed him. He was always willing to fix our cars, even if it was just in his own way that made them barely function. He loved going on spur-of-the-moment trips, anywhere was a good destination. Sometimes it was just shopping at the outlets, going to the nearest taco truck for lengua tacos, surprise trips to see our Grandma or a weekend trip to Reno. He was always willing to help out strangers just as much as he would help the family. If there was an ice cream truck nearby he would buy it for any kid that came to the truck when he was there, he didn't have to know them. He could always put a smile on your face, regardless of what mood you were in.
On February 17, 2004, Rudy's eldest daughters Regina and Corina were notified by friends and relatives that they believed Rudy was killed in downtown San Jose that afternoon. They refused to believe this and drove downtown to try and gain access to the crime scene. At this time during the evening, the crime scene was taped off by SJPD and they were refused access and any information about what happened and if Rudy was still alive. The next location was the San Jose Medical Center. The girls rushed into the emergency department and asked if their father was there or if he had passed and they refused to answer any questions. Later that evening SJPD offered information only if they drove down to the police station to meet with homicide investigators. During this time the family was split up into different rooms. Both daughters were placed into different interrogation rooms and questioned. Corina remembers being questioned about her father's mental health and if he was suicidal.
"I personally feel the police immediately wanted to create a narrative that my father was suicidal and this created a tunnel vision in their homicide investigation. I do not believe the case was handled fairly by law enforcement. No family member should have to be interrogated after their loved one is killed. I entered the police station feeling hopeful and left feeling a deep sadness that police are not here to protect everyone" - Corina