Fifteen years later, the murder of Kelly Ann Balderas remains a cold case at the Kissimmee Police Department.
Her family and officers came together Wednesday evening for a vigil for Balderas.
It was the anniversary of the day her body was found in a Kissimmee motel on East Vine Street/U.S. Highway 192 on March 6, 2004. Both the victim’s family and police are trying to generate new leads to finally solve the murder.
Wednesday’s vigil was the second time in as many weeks, local law enforcement has joined the families of murder victims whose killers have not been identified, years after their deaths.
Balderas, 22, worked at the Checkers fast food restaurant near the motel where she had lived. She was found by the site’s property manager during a wellness check. Her friends said at the time that they hadn’t seen her in several days.
Balderas had been dead for several days before her body was discovered, according to KPD. Police have questioned different people over the years but have never named a suspect nor made any arrests.
Balderas had “obvious signs of trauma to her body,” according to KPD, although details of the slaying have never been released to the public.
Diana Bryan, Balderas’ mother, holds a vigil every year on the corner of Damon Street and U.S. 192. It’s the site of the former Kissimmee motel where her daughter was killed. The Breeze Inn has since been razed.
Bryan has kept in close touch with KPD and local media hoping to reach someone with information about her daughter’s unsolved murder. She has even pitched the case to national crime shows, but to no avail.
The mother and daughter had been estranged when Balderas was killed. It’s a sorrowful burden Bryan has said she will carry the rest of her life. She seeks closure but, more importantly, justice for her daughter.
Balderas was found dead at about 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2004, in the Breeze Inn. She was known by people in the area where she lived and worked.
Osceola County’s sheriff last week emphasized that crime tipsters can remain anonymous and should come forward if they have information.
“We don’t want you, we want your information,” Sheriff Russ Gibson told family members and the media at a vigil for Ruth Haut on Feb. 26. The chiropractor was abducted from her office in Kissimmee on that day in 1992, and later found stabbed to death in an orange grove in St. Cloud.
Gibson said even if people think their information is tertiary or insignificant, that they still should notify law enforcement.
“Something that seems insignificant to you could generate leads and help us solve the case,” he said.
Anyone with information about the murder of Kelly Ann Balderas or Ruth Haut is asked to call CRIMELINE at 800-423-TIPS (8477) or crimeline.org/anonymous-tips.
You can also call:
• Kissimmee Police Department: 407-847-0176
• Osceola County Sheriff’s Office: 407-348-1100