Things That Matter

Detroit Millionaire Raises Money For Young Girl’s Funeral After She Died From Vicious Dog Attack

GoFundMe

On Monday morning, Emma Valentina Hernandez, 9, enjoyed a hearty breakfast, passed her back-to-school physical and spent the afternoon riding her bike in her Detroit neighborhood. That’s when three dogs, described as pit bulls by the police, attacked her in an alley. One of her neighbors heard her screaming and ran to the alley where she laid. Emma’s neighbors all tried to help save her, one even fired a gun and shot one of the dogs.

Her father, Armando, performed CPR on the scene. Today, he says he feels ’empty’ after paramedics were unable to save her. Emma died from her injuries.

Emma Hernandez’s family describes her as “a smart and silly girl… a beautiful soul inside and out.”

@USRealityCheck / Twitter

Emma leaves behind two brothers, ages 12 and 4, who will be returning to the Academy of the Americas without her next week. They’re currently with their abuela in Detroit while their parents grieve.

Just one week before Emma’s death, Armando got into a fight with the dogs’ owner over the inadequate fence enclosure.

@Marlenabobena / Twitter

He told Detroit News that he had warned the owner that his yard fence, the one his dogs eventually lept over to attack Emma, was too flimsy. Neighbors told the outlet that they had filed police reports about the dogs, who seemed too skinny, and were roaming the neighborhood freely.

The dog’s owner is in custody, and the dogs are likely going to be euthanized.

While a bullet didn’t stop the attack, a cement brick was finally enough to scare the dogs away.

@JennSchanzWXYZ / Twitter

“I went and grabbed a brick and threw it right at the dog,” neighbor Edward Cruz told CNN affiliate WXYZ. “They all ran and I stood next to the girl to make sure she was OK and I yelled out for help.”

That’s when Deborah Golden heard the screaming and ran to find Emma laying on her back with bite marks on her neck.

@wxyzdetroit / Twitter

A neighbor quickly called on Armando to come help his daughter. Around the corner from his house, Emma laid in a pool of blood, with Golden performing CPR. Armando applied pressure to the wounds in her neck to help stop the bleeding. The injuries were too severe to be recovered from, and she died at the hospital.

Emma’s injuries were so appalling, counseling services were offered to emergency responders.

Untitled. Digital Image. Chavez Academy. 21 August 2019.

Detroit Police Department Captain Russel Solano told CNN affiliate WDIV, “It’s hard for me not to cry. It’s tough, real tough. We’re talking about a 9-year-old girl who was just out there playing, and now she’s not here.”

“This is her neighborhood. She should be able to be free,” tía and godmother to Emma, Claudia Stapleton told WDIV.

@freep / Twitter

“This is her neighborhood. She should be able to be free and do what every kid does — walk around, ride their bikes — they shouldn’t be afraid to be in their own neighborhood,” Claudia said, holding a photo of Emma in front of her family’s home and memorial. “This is just very devastating. Very, very hurtful for this family.”

A Detroit millionaire has helped raise nearly $50k for Emma’s funeral costs in less than 24 hours.

@pulte / Twitter

Claudia was on her way to the cemetery to help the family understand the funeral costs for her niece when a friend called to let her know that the funeral was paid for. Founder of The Blight Authority, Bill Pulte, shared the GoFundMe link. A few hours later, he tweeted again, to assure the family that he would personally make sure the family doesn’t have to pay for the funeral.

A warrant is pending for the dogs’ owners but has not been issued.

@wxyzdetroit / Twitter

The Detroit police are handling the investigation, and Detroit Police Chief James Craig is not mincing words in getting justice for Emma. “Certainly the owner has a responsibility when they have violent animals that those animals are to be secure at all times,” Craig said in a press conference Tuesday morning. “I believe that, and if you can’t secure the animal, you shouldn’t have the animal — period, not open for conversation.”

While many sympathizers for Emma have taken to Twitter to call for murder charges against the owner, the prosecutor’s office has not disclosed what charges they are considering.

READ: Authorities Are Investigating The Tragic Death Of A Couple In Front Of Their Son While On Vacation In Guerrero

Update: The Country Music Star Who Passed Away Yesterday Might Have Been Drunk Driving When She Fatally Hit A Latina Teen

Entertainment

Update: The Country Music Star Who Passed Away Yesterday Might Have Been Drunk Driving When She Fatally Hit A Latina Teen

News broke earlier today that a high school student was also killed in the fatal car crash that resulted in the death of country singer Kylie Rae Harris, 30. The three-vehicle crash, which happened on Wednesday night in Taos, New Mexico, resulted in the fatal death of the 16-year-old high school student named Maria Elena Cruz. 

Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene. Her father, San Cristobal Volunteer Fire Deputy Chief Pedro Cruz was among the first responders at the scene of the fatal car crash. 

“At this time I will say with most certainty that Miss Cruz was an innocent victim of this senseless crash caused by Ms. Harris,” said Taos Country Sherriff Jerry Hogrefe in a statement to TaosNews.com

According to PEOPLE magazine, Taos County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that “Harris, who was traveling south on State Road 522 in a black Chevrolet Equinox, struck a black Chevrolet Avalanche from behind, initially sending her vehicle into the northbound traffic lane. Harris’ vehicle then collided head-on with Cruz’s white 2008 Jeep which was traveling north on SR 522 at the time.” 

Both drivers were also pronounced dead at the scene and PEOPLE reports that authorities said speeding appears to be one of the reasons for the fatal car crash. According to Daily Mail, police said alcohol was also a factor in the fatal accident although they have not yet revealed which driver had been drinking. The third driver “escaped uninjured and has not been identified.” Investigators are waiting for the results of a pending toxicology report to determine the alcohol levels of those involved. 

In an exclusive report by Daily Mail, it was revealed that country singer Harris had multiple citations for drunk driving and speeding as well. She had a court-ordered breathalyzer installed in her car, so there is speculation as to who used the breathalyzer in order to start the car and/or keep driving. Court records obtained by Daily Mail also show that she was convicted in June 2017 of driving while intoxicated and that she was fined over $400 for the offense. Years prior, in 2014, Daily Mail also reveals that she was fined another $302 for speeding in Dallas, Texas. 

The Taos community in New Mexico is mourning the loss of the high school teenager, Maria Elena Cruz. She was a Taos High School sophomore from San Cristóbal and the daughter of a deputy chief that responded to the crash. 

Students and faculty from the high school are also in shock.

Taos County Fire Chief Mike Cordova told TaosNews.com in an email that Deputy Chief Pedro Cruz and his family are “reeling” and “at home mourning her loss.” He also said that they’re asking for people and the community to give the family some time and space for the next couple of days. 

However, if community members want to help the family financially then they can drop off donations at the Taos County Fire and EMS office. More information on that here. The Taos community also planned a dinner to raise funds to help the Cruz family with funeral costs on Friday, September 6 at the San Cristóbal Community Center. You can donate to Maria Elena Cruz’s GoFundMe here, to help her family pay for funeral costs. 

According to one of her former teachers, Maria Elena Cruz was “beautiful, intelligent, kind, hard-working, and inspirational. Her tragic death has impacted many young lives, former teachers, her beloved parents, and little sister.”

Kylie Rae Harris’s mother, Betsy Cowan, released a statement on her Facebook on Thursday, announcing the church memorial service planned for next week.

“Needless to say, we have a huge hole in our hearts right now. We know our Kylie made a big impact on those around her, but I don’t think we could have fathomed how many people truly loved and cherished her,” her mother wrote in the same Facebook post according to Daily Mail. 

Her memorial service is planned for Wednesday, September 11, in her home town. There are also a couple of donation pages going around to raise benefits for the singer’s daughter and her family. 

Harris’s mother also wrote, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the 16-year-old girl who also died on the scene of the accident last night in Taos.”  

Before the fatal crash, the country singer posted an emotional Instagram video telling fans about how “literally everyone” in her family had died in Taos, New Mexico. She also tweeted hours before the crash saying that she was driving and almost out of fuel. The singer was scheduled to perform in a festival in New Mexico, where the crash occurred.  

Kylie Rae Harris leaves behind her six-year-old daughter Corbie. 

A 20-Year-Old Slips And Drowns On A Party Boat In A Mexico City Canal

Things That Matter

A 20-Year-Old Slips And Drowns On A Party Boat In A Mexico City Canal

There is heartbreaking news out of the town of Xochimilco in Mexico City where a young man fell off a party boat on Sunday and drowned. Local authorities found the body of José Manuel Romero Reyes, 20, the next day after several hours of searching for the body. According to police, Romero Reyes was partying with some friends for a birthday party on Sunday along the famous and very popular San Cristóbal canal near the Zacapa jetty. The area is a popular tourist attraction as it was originally configured by the ancient Aztecs.

The story went viral on social media as a person captured the exact moment that Romero Reyes fell into the canal. The footage shows a vibrant scene of young people partying in the San Cristóbal canal.

Grainy cell phone footage, captured by a person at the party, shows the moment Romero Reyes, wearing a white t-shirt and fedora hat, fell into the canal. In the video, you can see the young man trying to hop from one boat to another. Another male friend is seen moving from the gondola-like boats as Romero Reyes followed him but didn’t have enough footing and ultimately fell into the dark brown waters. It would take a few seconds for anyone to notice that he was drowning in the water until he suddenly couldn’t be seen due to the dark murky water. 

Within moments, the boat party comes to a halt as people start to realize that someone is drowning. Video shows a frantic scene as multiple people begin reaching into the ancient canal with long wooden sticks attempting to find and save Romero Reyes. Friends began throwing ropes into the canal but there was no sign of him after he fell into the water during the video. 

Now many are looking for answers as to how this young man could have just suddenly drowned with so many people nearby. As of now, police have yet to determine if alcohol was the main factor behind the drowning.

Credit: @retodiariomx / Twitter

According to the local authorities, dozens of beer bottles and other intoxicating drinks, including at least 30 beer cans and multiple empty bottles of rum and whiskey, were found aboard the boats where these young people were partying. Police say there was a heavy presence of alcohol at the scene but have yet to determine if it was a contributing factor to Romero Reyes’s death. 

Local television news in Mexico highlighted the search for Romero Reyes’s body along the canal as authorities stepped up efforts to locate him. A police search team would eventually find Romero Reyes’ body on early Monday morning at approximately 6 a.m.  

The untimely death of the young man has already prompted local officials to make some changes to prevent this accident from ever happening again. According to the Daily Mail,  Xochimilco mayor Juan Carlos Acosta Ruíz made some announcements concerning the safety of people along the historic canals. Starting on Oct. 1, visitors on the canals who board the gondolas will be required to wear a life jacket to ensure their safety on the water. If a person chooses not to wear one, they will then be required to sign a waiver form.

Mayor Ruíz has also made some new adjustments to alcohol laws while on the gondolas. Customers will now be limited to bring only three beers and a liter of liquor when boarding the boats. But when it comes to Micheladas, the popular drink made up of beer and tomato juice, it will now be banned on the canals.  

Friends and family are now reflecting and remembering the life of Romero Reyes as he is laid to rest. 

Credit: @jcarlos-valerio / Twitter

Romero Reyes is currently being veiled in the town of Santa María Nenetzintla, belonging to the municipality of Acajete. His body arrived at the small town just a day after his body was found. Family and friends are now gathering to say their farewells and remembering a life that was tragically taken away way too soon.  

There is expected to an open mass on Wednesday morning where his body will be presented at a local church. His body will then be transferred to a cemetery where it will be buried. Our thoughts and prayers are currently with the family and friends of Romero Reyes. 

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