CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Christmas season is typically thought of as a joyous time of year, but for those who have lost a loved one to a violent crime, the holidays can be especially tough.

To honor victims, families who all share a unique bond will gather Thursday, Dec. 12, for the 22nd annual Tree of Angels ceremony.

The event usually takes place at the Nueces County Courthouse, but in 2019 there has been a change in venue for the longstanding tradition. The Tree of Angels ceremony will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Del Mar College East Campus in the Wolfe Recital Hall. 

During the Tree of Angels, family members place an ornament containing pictures or even notes on a Christmas tree as a way to honor their loved ones during the holiday season.

The lasting impact of homicide is continuing to grow.

According to Nueces County Victim Assistance Coordinator Sharra Rodriguez, there have been 56 murder cases in 2019, and that's 56 families affected by violent crimes.

"It shows us why we do this. This is why we are so passionate about this type of crime. Each family gets to bring an ornament and keep it up throughout the holiday," Rodriguez said.

"It brings so much joy to some of the people to have their ornament placed on the tree. Every year doesn't get easier. Every year it's still the same for some of them," said Mark Gonzalez, Nueces County District Attorney.

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