As an investigator for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Detail for 18 years, Edoardo Arredondo helps society’s most vulnerable victims find justice.
In a 2016 case, Arredondo’s investigation led to the arrest and conviction of a youth pastor who’d sexually assaulted two underage victims. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
In another case, Arredondo investigated the sexual assault of three minors by a family friend.
The investigation led Arredondo to Arizona, where the suspect was living.
The perpetrator was extradited back to California and ultimately convicted.
Arredondo was among 13 recipients of Crime Survivors’ “Above & Beyond” award for 2017.
Crime Survivors, an Orange County nonprofit that provides support and services to victims of violent crimes, presents the awards annually to public safety personnel and civilians who have taken extra steps in helping crime victims, particularly victims of violent crimes.
The awards were presented during a June 28 luncheon at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove.
“Ed (Arredondo) can be described as a warrior, and making protecting children one of the highest priorities of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department,” said Dominic Montalbano, retired OCSD sergeant and presenter of the awards.
Irvine PD School Resource Officer Phil Walsh received the Above & Beyond Award for coming to the aid of a 10-year-old boy from an impoverished family and dealing with a family crisis.
When the boy’s family couldn’t afford to pay for his membership in a school club, Walsh raised the money through the Irvine Police Officers’ Association.
Walsh also provided support for the boy’s 13-year-old brother, who had been assaulted by a family member.
“Officer Walsh has a tremendous sense of commitment to his job and compassion and empathy for the victims, students and families that he works with,” Montalbano said.
Other honorees included Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detectives Sarah Gillis Elliot Uribe and Alfred Jaimie.
Los Angeles PD Officer Todd Dressen received an Above & Beyond award for community policing.
A Victim Advocacy Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ana Nogales, founder of Casa de la Familia, a nonprofit that serves the emotional needs of victims of crime and their families.
Crime Survivors was founded by Patricia Wenskunas, herself a victim of a violent crime.
In 2002, Wenskunas fought off an assailant who attacked her in her home.
After being beaten and drugged, Wenskunas manage to escape, but then dealt with the challenges of the criminal justice system, which seemed to offer little support for crime victims.
Wenskunas’ advocacy has led to increased awareness and support for victims.
“We need to unite together and be a force to be reckoned with,” said Wenskunas, who sees herself as a survivor, not a victim. “Without us, where do the survivors go? How do they find the healing?”