Murder victim Samantha Dean honored for work with sex assault victims

Wednesday marked one month since Kyle Police Department employee Samantha Dean was found dead in Bastrop County.

Dean was a victim services coordinator for the department and worked around the clock with victims of violent crimes.

"She was just very proactive and very dedicated to making sure survivors had their voice heard and had justice," said Rose Luna, co-chair of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Diversity Task Force.

Dean was found shot to death at a parking lot on February 4 with her unborn child in her womb.

"This tragedy is so overwhelming. Everyone tells me as time passes it'll get better, but I'm just not feeling that right now. I miss her so much," said Kimberly Dean, Samantha's mother.

"Internally our officers and employees are just banding together and making sure that we remember Samantha, but that we also carry forward with all the work that she had going forward in Hays County," said Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett.

Wednesday, leaders of TAASA honored Dean for her work as an advocate for victims of sex crimes.

Dean is the first recipient of the Samantha Dean Rising Star Award which honors advocates under 30 that work to end sexual violence in Texas. Wednesday, Dean's parents accepted the award on her behalf.

"We thought it was very befitting of Samantha's good work and her accomplishments and the fact that she was indeed a rising star in her field. And we're proud to be a part of TAASA's recognition of her career and all she's done for our community," said Barnett.

So far no suspects have been arrested in connection with Dean's murder. The Bastrop Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation.