A mother's grief: An interview with Janene Campos

Published: Nov. 21, 2019 at 8:39 PM AKST
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Marie Campos is one of the three victims who died by gunfire Nov. 2in Wasilla. Her mother, Janene Campos, told KTUU she fought as an ally for her daughter her entire life. Now, she's trying to come to terms with the fact that she can't help her anymore.

Marie, who grew up in Big Lake and Wasilla, and volunteered at the senior center during high school, lived with a brain-based disability, something that made her vulnerable to exploitation, Campos said. Her daughter often loaned people money from her monthly disability checks, regardless of whether they'd repay her, she said.

As a young adult, she'd found a soul-mate in a man named Paul Anderson, and they had a child together. When Anderson lost his life in a car crash last summer, Campos said her daughter - already struggling with addiction - fell into deep grief.

A few years ago, Campos had begun to use methamphetamine, her mother told KTUU, adding she would also sell it from time to time.

It was a lifestyle Janene Campos found herself rescuing her daughter from more than once, fetching her from bad situations to keep her safe, to help her get healthy, she said.

When Marie didn't come home Nov. 2, Janene knew something was wrong. Then the call came. Mikey Attwood, 25, the adult son of Marie's boyfriend, had been killed, found shot inside the family's car on a neighborhood street off of Knik Goose Bay Road in Wasilla.

After a look at the bullet holes in the car and the amount of blood, Campos lost hope they'd find Marie alive.

"When I went to the scene, they didn't tell me. But I knew," Campos said.

Her daughter's body was located the same day in a driveway off of Warbler Road, on a property neighbors say was frequented by squatters, drug users and thieves. The body of a third person, Campos's longtime friend Alyssa Jimenez, 28, was found a few days later in the woods across the street.

"I want justice for these three kids. They're kids to me. Marie, Alyssa, Mikey, they always had to tell me 'We're adults. You don't have to tell us everything,'" Campos said.

The house on Warbler where the shooting occurred is a place Marie and her late-husband would hang out, Janene Campos said. After his death, Marie sometimes returned there to feel close to him, she said.

Alaska State Troopers have remained tight-lipped about the investigation.

Juan Camarena, a 51-year-old man with prior felonies out of California, including for dealing Methamphetamine, is named as a person of interest in the case. Because law enforcement agents found ammunition in his trailer during a search of a property in Big Lake, he's now in federal custody, charged with being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Camarena is not charged with any crimes connected to the events of that night, and friends of his have told 2 Investigates he was home in Big Lake the entire night.

Yet it appears he is acquainted with the victims. He lists Attwood and Jimenez as friends on Facebook, and Campos said he had visited Marie's house with another man a few days before the shooting.

It was a Friday night call for help from a friend that sent Marie into Wasilla that evening, Campos said.

"She is not going to let Alyssa walk down the road, barefoot in the middle of the night, beat up and everything, so she went to go get her, and I guess Mike went with her," Janene Campos said.

Campos said methamphetamine drew her daughter, who was easily trusting, into risky situations.

Still, Campos's love for family, for her son, seemed to keep her going no matter how lost she seemed to get, her mother said.

"I don't condone what she had done, you know, but she didn't deserve to be murdered," Campos said.

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