Carmina Salcido, Whose Father Murdered Her Family, Has 'American Idol' Hopes


"I am determined to be everything opposite of the kind of bad people that have been in my life," she said. "I'm gonna be strong."

Carmina Confronts Father on Death Row

Ultimately, Carmina felt compelled to return to Sonoma County, in part to write a book that was just released, "Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival" (William Morrow). She was also drawn there to see her father for the first time since he left her for dead.

Memories of her father from her upbringing had been terror-filled -- even before the massacre.

"I was very intimidated and scared of my dad. He would come home and you know, be drunk, obliterated," she said. "And I remember fights going on between him and my mom ... probably a week before everything went crazy, or maybe even, it might have been the night before. And he just started, you know, slapping and punching her. Sofia was holding baby Teresa in the hallway, just terrified watching this. We just all stand back there with you know big eyes and just watch, terrified."

In hopes of moving forward, Carmina arranged a meeting with her father at the San Quentin prison in February 2006. It was the first time she had seen him since that day nearly 20 years ago when he slashed her throat and left her for dead.

"I went there with a very, very, very, very positive attitude with high hopes," she said. "But he came in like a joker, like a clown, you know. ... He came smiling in. You know, I thought it would be at least -- walk up and be serious, and just start crying when he saw me. But, no emotion."

Like many inmates sentenced to die, Ramon claimed to have had a stunning religious conversion. After completing a mail-in seminary class, he began ministering to inmates, signing his name "Reverend" and posing for pictures with children.

While "Reverend" Ramon tended to his flock from death row, he left his very own daughter living in a kind of purgatory. Carmina said that her father couldn't give her an apology or an explanation.

"He looked me right in the eye the second he saw me -- like he had the right to call me his daughter," she said, "like this is some big happy reunion. It's not a big happy reunion. It isn't.

Carmina said that Ramon told her he had seen pictures of her on MySpace and had friends outside of prison looking out for her.

California state law forbids death row inmates from having access to the Internet, but "20/20's" investigation suggests friends of Ramon's may have legally brought pictures of Carmina and hard copies of the websites into prison.

Revulsion for Ramon Runs Deep

The revulsion toward Ramon Salcido and his crime runs deep in Sonoma -- especially for his daughter whom he so brutally betrayed.

"I don't ever want to see him again," Carmina said. "And I would breathe a great sigh of relief when justice has been dealt."

Brown, who Carmina said has become like a father-figure to her, told "20/20" that he would put an end to her father's life if he could.

"I literally could go back to work and do one more job. And, that would be to go to San Quentin prison and execute Ramon Salcido," Brown said.

Ramon Salcido has been on death row at San Quentin since his 1990 conviction. Carmina Salcido now lives in Sonoma -- a place of enormous loss for the 23-year-old -- but she doesn't see it that way.

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