Balloon release set to remember death of Odessa mother

August 5, 2018

It’s been one year since the death of 31-year-old Lindsey Baldonado, who was fatally shot in her home in August 2017.

“I can’t believe it’s already been a year,” Baldonado’s sister, Nikki Tolbert, said. “She was taken from us way too early.”

Baldonado’s boyfriend, 34-year-old Rubin Edwards III, is accused of pulling the trigger. He was arrested following her death and indicted a month later on the charge of murder, a first-degree felony. Tolbert said her sister had asked Edwards to move out not long before her death.

A probable cause affidavit stated family had told police Edwards had threatened to kill her the day before, and detailed that family members at the scene had removed a gun from Edwards, who was “conscious and breathing” by the time officers arrived, after he reportedly turned the gun on himself in an attempted suicide.

In honor of her memory, and to celebrate the mother and person she was, Tolbert said they will host a balloon release on Monday, one year after the day she was killed. Tolbert said she hopes to spread further awareness about domestic violence as well.

“It is far too much of a problem in our world these days for women or men to think they have to stay in a relationship like that,” Tolbert said. “Whether it’s mental or physical (abuse), they’re all heartbreaking.”

Edwards awaits trial, and has been sitting in the Ector County Detention Center since September 2017. Jail records show his bond is set at $1 million, and court records show Michael McLeaish has been appointed as his attorney.

Tolbert described her sister as a very outgoing person, and an outspoken and loving mother who would give anyone the shirt off of her back. Baldonado had two children: 9-year-old Kobi Baldonado and 3-year-old Klariety Coleman.

“Just dealing with her babies every single day saying ‘I miss my mommy,’ what do you say to that?” Tolbert said. “Every single day I wish she was here.”

Tolbert added that Baldonado lived a sober life after fighting with addiction, and was active with Alcoholics Anonymous. Her sponsor, Rhonda McCalman, will also attend the balloon release, and joined the Midland County Crisis Intervention Unit after Baldonado’s death to help other families and victims of crimes such as domestic violence. The unit works as volunteers, so when something happens involving a family, such as an assault or a fire, they can stay with the victims while the police continue their investigating.

“For me, I just know in a way of honoring her, she’d want me to share her story to help other people,” McCalman said. “She shared her story all the time to help people stay clean and sober. This will help me share it so maybe someone will not go back to a violent situation.”

McCalman said she had helped one girl who had been hit in the stomach by the father of her child while she was eight months pregnant. The girl told McCalman she was worried the baby would be born before the protective order against him expired, as she still wanted him to be there for the baby’s birth.

“I showed her a picture of Lindsey and her kids and told her this is my friend and she took some time in deciding what to do, and she’s not here anymore,” she said. “So you can go down that path, or you can do the protective order and be safe.”

The balloon release is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of the UTPB Softball Complex, 5201 E. 42nd St.

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