Services mourn loss of cousins, classmate killed in Uvalde

Southwest

FILE – Eight-year-old Jeremiah Lennon picks at a sign that reads “Uvalde Strong” which he helped decorate and stuck on an electric pole in front of his home on May 28, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. Lennon was in a classroom just next to the room where three of his friends were slain when a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — The cousins were together in life and in death.

Jailah Silguero and Jayce Luevanos were remembered Friday at a funeral Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde, Texas. Later Friday, the same church plannned to hold another Mass for their classmate, Jacklyn Cazares. The three fourth-graders were among 19 children who, along with two teachers, died when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire inside Robb Elementary School on May 24.

Visitations, funerals and burials for the victims will continue into mid-June.

Jailah Silguero, photo courtesy of family (Reuters)

Jailah Silguero and Jayce Luevanos

For different reasons, Jailah and Jayce did not want to go to school on May 24.

Jailah’s mother tearfully told Univision last week that her daughter simply wanted to skip school. Veronica Luevanos said that maybe Jailah sensed something was going to happen.

That same morning, Jayce pleaded to join his grandmother as she accompanied her great-granddaughter’s kindergarten class to the San Antonio Zoo, his grandfather Carmelo Quiroz told USA Today. But the family told Jayce it didn’t make sense to skip school so close to the end of the academic year. Besides, Jayce liked school.

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, photo courtesy of family (Reuters)

“He was so sad he couldn’t go” to the zoo, Quiroz said. “Maybe if he would have gone, he’d be here.”

Carmelo Quiroz told USA Today that Jayce woke up every morning and made his grandparents a pot of coffee. He colored and wrote notes saying, “I love you Grandpa.” His dog, Fifi, would wait for Jayce to get home. Their home was a gathering spot for Jayce and his buddies — often, the grandparents would look out in amusement as up to eight kids played in the yard.

Jacklyn Cazares

Nine-year-old Jacklyn would give the “shirt off her back” to help someone, her father recalled in an interview.

“She had a voice,” Javier Cazares said. “She didn’t like bullies, she didn’t like kids being picked on. All in all, full of love. She had a big heart.”

Javier Cazares said Jacklyn was especially tight with her second cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, and three other girls who also were in the classroom when the gunman burst in.

“They are all gone now,” Cazares said.

In her obituary, Jacklyn was described as a free spirit who loved to sing, make videos on TikTok and interact with friends on Snapchat. Her favorite color was sage green.

“She loved all animals, but her 4 dogs were her world,” the obituary stated. “She yearned to become a Veterinarian and dreamed of visiting Paris one day.”

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