Written by James H. Williams
Bennetta Betbadal, wife of Riverside Community College District police and safety officer Arlen Verdehyou, was one of the 14 victims shot and killed at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Dec. 2, according to RCCD Chancellor Michael Burke, who released a statement by email to the college community.
The mother of three graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in chemistry before taking a job as an inspector with the San Bernardino County Health Department in 2006, according to a statement by Betbadal’s family on the GoFundMe page set up in her memory.
Betbadal was born in Iran in 1969 and but fled country at the age of 18 to “escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian Revolution,” the statement read.
Family Friend Kevin Paulson stated, during an interview on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, “It is the ultimate irony that her life would be stolen from her by what appears to be the same type of extremism that she fled so many years ago.”
Betbadal lived in New York City after coming to America and later moved to Riverside, where she married her husband in 1997.
Verdehyou stated during the interview the couple met during a conference in 1995 and stayed in touch. It was just two years later that he asked for her hand in marriage.
“She was a lovely wife and a beautiful mother,” Verdehyou said. “Everything she touched blossomed.”
While Betbadal’s daughter and two sons appeared by the side of Verdehyou, the daughter was the only one of the three children to speak during the interview.
“I am doing ok,” the daughter told Cooper. “What else could I do but to be strong.”
The GoFundMe page was created for the sole benefit of Betbadal’s children, as the family adapts to life without their beloved wife and mother.
Funeral services for Betbadal will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Rancho Cucamonga Dec. 14 at 10:30 a.m.