Eight years after Valentine's Day homicide, mother still looking for answers

Posted at 6:38 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 19:38:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Eight years later, the mother of a 26-year-old man murdered in 2010 is still looking for answers on who killed her son.  

Lupe Rennau lost her son, John Valdivia, on Valentine's Day 2010. She said he was coming home to 17th and Richmond Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas when someone was waiting for him.

"He had just bought diapers for his newborn. They had him 10 days before," explained Lupe Rennau.

Rennau also said he was bringing home a heart-shaped pizza to his fiance.  

He was shot and killed outside his home, his fiancé was inside and heard something.

"She knew he wasn't walking in the door and she came out and found him laying on the ground," said Rennau, who said she started to perform CPR immediately, but it was too late. 

Rennau has pictures lining the walls of her home and an area decorated with flowers and religious symbols as a place to remember her son.

"For his son, that's really hard seeing him grow up without his dad," said Rennau, talking about John Jr., who is now eight years old.

Rennau said her son was fun, well-loved and he liked dogs.

"When he walked in and started talked you heard, even if he tried to whisper, he couldn't. His voice was that deep," said Rennau. 

Most years she holds a "Johnny Valentine Benefit Dance," but this year there was a death in the family. It's raised so much money, now there is a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Valdivia's killer.

"We have taken tips in the past, detectives continue to work on it," explained Detective Kevin Boehm of Crime Stoppers.

The last tip came in September, police unable to tell us what it is.

Since 2010, the two main detectives on the case have retired. But it is Rennau's hope, one good tip will lead to the arrest of her son's killer.

"You don't forget about it. It doesn't get easier over time as people say," said Rennau.

Rennau said she will continue to have fundraisers for an even larger reward because she wants justice for her family.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers Greater Kansas City TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). TIPS may also be submitted electronically at or by texting TIP452 and your information to 274637 (CRIMES).