Exclusive: 1 Year Later, Del Rio’s wife, daughter remember slain detective

One year after Dayton Police Detective Jorge Del Rio was killed in the line of duty his wife of more than 30 years Kathy and daughter Erica shared their memories exclusively with News Center 7 Anchor James Brown.

The couple met more than 30 years ago working at Downtown Dayton’s Elder Beerman department store. In 1987 they married, and about a year later Del Rio took an exam to see if he had what it took to become a Dayton police officer.

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“It was his passion, it was what he loved to do,” Kathy said.

What he loved even more than his job, was his wife and his five daughters.

“He was just a family man,” Erica said. “He was strict, I respected that. Hated at same time. Hated at same time. But helped mold us to who we are today.”

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When Del Rio was not working, he always found time for family vacations, including taking the girls to a shooting range to teach them how to safely handle a gun.

“After shooting he would take us to Macintosh’s for wings and pizza,” Del Rio said.

Never did Erica and her sisters take for granted their time with Jorge here in sleepy little downtown Bellbrook.

Jorge also had a thing for collecting. He was passionate about comic books and R&B and oldies music.

Kathy and Jorge’s favorite song was Santana’s, “I Love The Way.”

Along with being a good officer, Jorge was bi-lingual. A combination the Drug Enforcement Agency needed in its' day to day drug battle. Federal agents welcomed in Jorge, considered him one of the best, in what was a very dangerous fight.

“We always thought he would come back, every time,” Erica said.

But then came that Mon. night, Nov. 4, 2019. It was a little after 8:00 p.m.

“Someone came to the door,” Kathy said.

“I was at home,” Erica added. “I got a call from my sister. She said something happened to dad he’s in the hospital.”

The next thing the Del Rio family knew, they were in the hospital lobby and it was filled with people.

“No-one was really telling us what was going happening, what going on,” Erica said.

But then the family got pulled into a room by themselves.

“That was when they told us what happened, what probably going to happen,” Erica said. “It was hard to hear that your father was not going to make it. It was just hard.”

Such a close-knit family. A bond so strong. The love of Kathy’s life. And there was nothing anyone could do.

“My dad did everything for my mom,” Erica said. “He was her best friend. They did everything together.”

For years, Jorge had been Kathy’s eyes. He helped guide her after she lost her sight. The memories from that night are still so vivid and so painful.

“You miss hearing that voice. You want that laughter. You want to hear that laugh one more time. You want to hear him say I love you one more time. You want to feel that hug one more time. Little things you want back,” Erica said.

“Every day is a bad day,” Kathy said. “I want to see justice for what has happened. That’s one the things that keeps me going.”

And so do nine kids and grandkids. As for the men investigators arrested and charged with Jorge’s murder.

“I defiantly have not forgiven them. No,” Kathy said. “I’m still pretty upset about that.”

“It breaks my heart it had to happen,” Erica said. “It just makes me sad. I’m not mad. Just sad.”

Jorge always taught his family to stay together no matter what. That is what has helped the Del Rio family get through some of their darkest days. What has offered comfort and peace is knowing Jorge lives on in others. He was an organ donor. One of his kidney’s helped save a woman’s life.

“She was very thankful in the letter,” Erica said. “That made me feel really good knowing my dad was still helping someone. Even after his life still helping somebody they grateful save some lives. Someone else’s life. Felt good when we read that letter.”

Time has a way of passing us by. So many things we want to do. But some we never seem to get to.

But not Jorge.

“He got what he wanted, but it was not what we wanted. It is hard for us to accept that,” Erica said.

“He died doing what he loved to do,” Kathy added.

It’s been a year since family and friends said goodbye. Just too bad more of us never got to say hello. But let us not forget, Jorge lived life. Loved life. Until the very end.