Fundraiser held for mother of 3 killed in Oceanside

Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-31 02:50:38-05

Heartbroken family members are still in shock over the murder of a young Oceanside mother, killed in front of her two-year-old son.

“She was like a sister to me, and it hurts, and I really can’t believe she’s not here,” Melissa’s cousin, Jessica Contreras, said.

Jessica said Contreras was happy after she broke up with Uriel Leon, the father of her two youngest children.
Prosecutors say Leon strangled Contreras in her car  Monday, while their son was in the car. She was there to pick her son up from Leon's Oceanside home. Leon pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and child cruelty. A judge set his bail at $2 million. 

“He wanted to get back with her, but from stuff that’s he’s done before, she," Jessica said. "She didn’t want to. She was really happy."

Contreras' family is still stunned by his actions. 

“It’s shocking how he did this, like why? What was going on in your head when you did this?" Jessica said. "Did you not think about your kid? He was inside the car with you."

Jessica, who once lived with the couple, said Leon has previously been a nice person, and she had never seen him violent. 

Friday night, dozens of Melissa’s friends and loved ones went to disFruta, on N. Redondo St. in Oceanside for a fundraiser.

They're rallying the community to help the family pay for the young mother's funeral and to help her grandmother with the expenses of raising Contreras' three children. 

They haven’t told the kids mom is gone.

“Her kids, like that’s what hurts us the most, the babies,” Jessica Contreras said. "The toddler in the car that night can’t sleep,” Jessica Contreras said.

Several fundraisers are planned to help the family:

Sunday, January 1

5 p.m. - 9 p.m.


610 N. Redondo Dr H, Oceanside

Monday, January 2


7 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Pit Stop Diner

3825 Mission Ave. Oceanside

Participants must bring in a printed flier to have 10% of meal proceeds go to the Contreras family. Please print the image above and bring take it with you if you attend. 

The family has also created a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.