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Former Santa Barbara resident murdered in Mexico

By Alys Martinez, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Producer/Reporter,
Published On: Feb 17 2013 09:51:51 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 18 2013 03:39:06 PM CST

55-year-old Santa Barbara High School graduate Joyce Schuman, known as Joyous Heart, was found stabbed to death inside her home in San Miguel de Allende. Friends in the resort town say someone on Heart's property heard loud screaming on January 30th. Heart was found on the floor in her kitchen on February 1.


A former Santa Barbara resident has been murdered in Mexico. Her family says they know who did it, and are frustrated with the police investigation.

55-year-old Santa Barbara High School graduate Joyce Schuman, known as Joyous Heart, was found stabbed to death inside her home in San Miguel de Allende. Friends in the resort town say someone on Heart's property heard loud screaming on January 30th. Heart was found on the floor in her kitchen on February 1.  

Heart's sisters who live in San Luis Obispo and Santa Ynez say they believe Heart's adopted daughter, 18-year-old Noemi Heart, is the killer.

Heart was a volunteer at an orphanage in San Miguel de Allende and legally adopted Noemi in 2009. Noemi had a history of mental illness and spent a year in a therapeutic hospital.  She was released three months ago.

Heart's family says Heart slept with her bedroom door locked out of fear, because Noemi was unpredictable and often stole from her. Heart was reportedly trying to find Noemi a job after her release, but no longer wanted to live with her.

Heart's family says the evidence against Noemi is overwhelming. Police said they found Noemi's fingerprints on the knife left at the scene, and Noemi was seen in the area near the time of the murder.

Heart's family says Noemi has recently contacted them for money. They wired her a small amount in order to get a general idea of where she may be.  They believe she is about two hours away from San Miguel de Allende. They also say she is still active on Facebook.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for Noemi. But, Heart's family says they are frustrated about the lack of progress in the investigation and believe police may be understaffed.

We tried to contact police in San Miguel de Allende, but could not reach anyone.

Heart's body has been flown back to Santa Barbara. The family is planning a private memorial on March 3rd.


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