Tag Archive for: Sophie Martinez

Citizens of Courage Natalie Ortiz and her two daughters Rachel and Sophie Martinez pose for a family photo with the two younger siblings outside Rady Children's Hospital.

Citizens of Courage 2024: Natalie, Rachel and Sophie

Our final 2024 Citizens of Courage are a mother and her two young daughters who survived an attempted murder by someone they trusted to look out for them. When everyone in the household was asleep, Natalie Ortiz’s boyfriend and the father-figure to her two daughters, Rachel and Sophie, attempted to kill all three of them. But he did not count on their survival instincts and their will to live. Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Lorens prosecuted this case.

DA Honors 6 ‘Citizens of Courage’

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan honored six brave individuals today during the DA’s 34th annual Citizens of Courage Awards, held as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This year, National Crime Victim’s Rights Week was observed the week of April 21-27 and the theme is “How would you help? Options, services, and hope for crime survivors.” As part of this annual event, the DA not only highlights the courageous individuals who survived or witnessed a crime, but also the important services that are offered through the DA’s Victim Assistance program. The DA’s Office is the largest provider of victim services in the county.

 “The six individuals we are honoring today were placed in dangerous or trying circumstances and responded with courage,” DA Stephan said. “By recognizing them, we’re also shining a light on the many courageous crime victims our office serves in the pursuit of justice every year, and the importance of supporting victims’ rights, which is an integral part of our mission at the District Attorney’s Office. I am very proud and grateful for the tireless service performed by our Victim Advocates on behalf of crime victims.”

The DA’s Victim Services Division strives to reduce the trauma, fear and pain experienced by victims, witnesses, and family members affected by crime. The Victim Assistance Program provides comprehensive services to all crime victims, while Victim Advocates are focused on providing assistance to victims of violent crimes. In 2023, they assisted 9,942 new crime victims. This assistance included 814 crisis interventions and 11,865 resources and referrals. Thousands of additional victims and survivors are also served by our North County Family Justice Center: One Safe Place.

This year, the Citizens of Courage Awards ceremony was held at the Liberty Station Conference Center in front of more than 300 invited dignitaries, elected officials, community leaders and guests. Below are the 2024 Citizens of Courage recipients and links to videos telling their stories, just click on their names to watch their video:


She witnessed a neighbor being attacked, called police, and stayed with the victim to help, passing along his dying words to his family. Deputy District Attorney Helen Kim prosecuted this case.


A witness to a deadly hit and run incident who followed the driver at his own peril, leading police to arrest him. Deputy District Attorney Hailey Williams prosecuted this case.


A security guard who endangered her life by putting herself in between a stabber and his victim. Deputy District Attorney Yoni Fraenkel prosecuted this case.


A mother and her two daughters who were shot by her boyfriend, called 911, ran for help, and testified against the shooter at trial. Deputy District Attorney Alexandra Lorens prosecuted this case.