On November 22nd, Lisa Treviño received news that is every mother’s worst nightmare. Police officers came to Treviño’s house and informed her that two teenage girls had died in a fire at a nearby apartment.
One of the girls was her daughter, 15-year-old Azalyia “YaYa” Hernandez. The other victim was her friend, 16-year-old Eliza “Ellie” Maurer.
The girls were sophomores at Fredericksburg High School. The night started out like a typical weekend for any teenager: Hernandez told her mother that she was going to go to a sleepover with Maurer after they had both attended a quinceañera with her family earlier that day.
“I’m the type that when my kids aren’t at home, I’m the type that calls them. And I can’t go to sleep until I hear from them that they’re okay,” Treviño told Spectrum News 1. “I told her, ‘Okay, Azalyia, make good choices, think good choices and I love you.’ And the last text I got, ‘I will mom. I love you too.'” That was the last communication Treviño had with her daughter.
The Maurer family is also coping with their grief. They released a statement, saying: “We are shocked and devastated at the news of our daughter’s death. Ellie (Eliza) was a beautiful child. She loved playing basketball and volleyball. She had a spunky personality and was a social butterfly. Ellie was loved by her friends and family. We still cannot believe this happened. We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support by friends, family and the community and we are incredibly thankful for that.”
According to the Sorola-Treviño family, police suspect foul play was involved.
“As with all deaths, they are treated as a homicide until proven otherwise,” said Fredericksburg Chief of Police Steven Wetz to Spectrum News 1.
According to Treviño, police told her that the girls’ bodies were found in a bedroom. The Fredericksburg Police Department says that the primary causes of both deaths was smoke inhalation. Evidence points to the fire having been started on a couch.
“The very first thing that they told us was that they found them nude and that there was foul play, and there was some suspects who had run from the apartment,” said Gary Sorola, Hernandez’s stepfather, to Fox 7 Austin.
It is still unknown why the girls were at the apartment building, but the Sorola-Treviño family say that the girls knew the son of the woman who rents the apartment.
The Fredericksburg community is shaken by the death of the two girls. Both of the girls’ families are devastated. The victims’ families and friends said the two girls had big plans for the future. Ellie wanted to become a lawyer, while YaYa wanted to join the Air Force and work with K-9s before becoming a nurse.
December 14th would have been Azalyia’s 16th birthday. But now, her mother will have to endure what should have been a happy day without her daughter.
“Now she’s gone and I’m not gonna have a chance to ever see her grow or accomplish what she wanted to accomplish. She’s gone. They took her from me too young,” Treviño said.
Police are asking anyone with information about the night in question (November 21st) to come forward. Contact them at 830-997-7585 or call Crime Stoppers at 997-8477 (TIPS).
Recently, a TikTok video went viral for spoofing what a Latino character would look like if he or she were written by JK Rowling.
The minute-long video, entitled “If JK Rowling wrote a Latino character”, was created by TikTok user @Munchy_Monk, who also goes by the name “Louie”.
The video (which has now been viewed over 2 million times), starts with Munchy_Monk reading a “script” that JK Rowling sent him.
“Um, Ms. Rowling, I’m not really sure about this character,” he says, his voice full of trepidation. In the video, the imaginary “Ms. Rowling” responds by telling him to “read the bloody script before I call immigration.”
The video continues to be more outrageous from there. His tongue firmly in his cheek, Munchy_Monk runs through the gambit of stereotypes that the media typically portrays Latinos as doing.
With an exaggerated semi-Spanish-sounding accent (one that is all-too familiar for people who watch TV), the TikTok star pretends to be a gardener (“I’m-gardening-leviosa”), a line-cook (“Accio tacos and burritos!”), and a trouble-making student (“I ain’t take no potions. I ain’t even in potions class, foo.”).
The video is also littered with punny jokes that play on Rowling’s whimsical word-choice. For example, Munchy_Monk pronounces the spell “stupify” as “estupify” and claims he comes from the Hogwarts house “Gryffindor-a the Explor-a”.
The TikTok video perfectly illustrates the way Rowling has depicted BIPOC characters in the past, as well as how the media generally portrays characters who have identities outside of what the media considers to be “standard” (i.e. white and straight).
For a few years now, there have been subsets of the internet who have taken issue with Rowling’s portrayals of BIPOC and queer characters in the the Harry Potter universe. Many consider these characters to be tokenized depictions of what real non-white, non-straight people are actually like.
Some fans have also grown frustrated to her public statement about Harry Potter characters–specifically how she publicly and retroactively “changed” theirbackstories to “gain inclusivity points” without doing the the more meaningful work of writing inclusive characters in the first place.
Although some fans celebrate Rowling’s fluid approach to the culture and identity of her characters, some claim that the post-publication changes feel inauthentic.
“The problem is we never see those elements of characterisation in the books themselves,” writer Kayleigh Anne wrote in The Independent. “The faith, race and sexuality of her characters has been shoe-horned in retroactively, and it can’t help but ring hollow.”
Of course, the icing on the problematic cake has been the recent transphobic comments and forthcoming book JK Rowling has made about and against trans people. All of these circumstances put into question JK Rowling’s status as an ally to queer and BIPOC people–if she ever was one in the first place.
But one thing is worth admitting: all of the above make Munchy_Monk’s TikTok video especially poignant and darkly hilarious.