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One year later, Aya Nakano’s Mother vows to continue pursuit of justice for her son

2 mins read

Aya Nakano would have turned 24 on June 13th. A recent University of Oregon graduate with a bright future, it’s not hard to picture him thriving today with a sociology degree and a minor in communication studies under his belt. One year ago, Aya’s life was taken from him by a senseless act of cowardice after a fender-bender along Stanford at Market in North Oakland.

Finding justice for her son is what keep Aya’s mother Maria going. Therapy and a supportive network of family and friends has helped her cope with the survivors’ guilt she deals with every day. She and her partner of 17 years are now preparing to move to the Peninsula to avoid the seemingly constant sirens in here neighborhood that remind her of the event that turned her life upside down. Maria still visits the scene of the crime at least three times a week. On Thursday 6/12, the anniversary of his slaying, she adorned it with flowers and teddy bears, along with signs to honor him. “I’m not giving up,” she said. “I have all the time in the world. However long it takes, I will keeping working on the case.” The $100,000 reward that she and her family has raised remains unclaimed but new information has emerged about an unidentified woman who may have pulled up at the scene but quickly left. Getting this woman to step forward with whatever information she has could help move the case forward.


Aya’s family & friends will host a memorial golf tournament today to honor him, reminisce and keep his memory alive. Proceeds will go toward funding the outdoor advertising campaign that is set to end this month. Friends are also hoping to fund a memorial bench they hope to install at the Rec center of his alma mater where he often played pick-up basketball. Anonymous tips can be provided by calling  1-800-222-TIPS or online at

‘I’m not giving up’: Emeryville woman still seeks justice for son killed right before his birthday

By Kristin J. Bender, Oakland Tribune

Aya Nakano always said, “My mom has my back.”

A year after the 22-year-old Emeryville man’s killing in North Oakland, Maria Climaco, Nakano’s mother, is proving her son right.

She has put her life on hold to keep her only child’s tragic story in the news, work with police, raise money to fund a sizable reward and remember the son she called her best friend.

“I owe it to Aya,” she said on Thursday, the anniversary of his murder.

Read More on SJ Mercury News →


By Nick Smith
There are new details this evening in the case of a man who was murdered in Oakland after a minor fender bender.

Aya Nakano pulled over when his car was rear ended. That’s when police say two men got out and confronted him. One of those men fired the shot that killed him. Now, police and the man’s mother believe someone out there knows who did it.

Nakano’s car was hit, and he did what any of us would do, he pulled over. That’s when police say two men got out and confronted him. One of those men fired the shot that killed him. Someone knows the man who did it. The police department has spent almost $50,000 in funds that they have raised to put up posters to ask the public for help.

Read More on ABC 7 News →

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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