Things That Matter

Father of Uvalde Shooting Victim Denied Temporary Release To Attend Daughter’s Funeral

Unfortunately for one family, the sorrow has only continued to multiply after the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, after a victim’s dad was denied his compassionate release bid so he could attend his daughter’s funeral. Ten-year-old Eliahana “Eli” Cruz Torres was one of the 19 students who was murdered by the 18-year-old shooter that day. While her funeral was held for loved ones this past Thursday, her own father was not allowed to attend.

The victim’s father Eli Torres, 45, is an inmate at McCreary U.S. Penitentiary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. He is currently serving a 20-year federal prison sentence for drug trafficking and conspiracy after being convicted back in 2013. Torres requested a temporary release to attend his daughter’s funeral in Uvalde, but was denied.

Torres spoke to the Houston Chronicle about his immense heartbreak, telling the outlet that he would speak to his daughter on the phone every now and then while she was alive, but now, “The days and nights, they’re dark… I can’t see no light.” He also said that he feels he could have done something to prevent the shooting if he had been there, explaining: “I could have prevented this from happening, somehow, some way, as a father… I could have stopped it somehow. Protected her.”

Celebrities, journalists and politicians alike stepped in to try to help Torres before his daughter’s funeral took place, all in the hopes that he would be allowed to travel to Uvalde and properly mourn her tragic passing. 

For one, Kim Kardashian posted about the situation on her Twitter account, sharing a photo of Eliahana with the caption: “Her family are desperately hoping that her father, who is incarcerated for a non violent drug offense, be granted temporary release so that he can attend her funeral.” In a separate tweet, the reality star shared, “So far their requests have been denied. I ask the [Federal Bureau of Prisons] to grant Eli Torres temporary release so that he can say his last goodbye to his baby girl. Every parent deserves that right.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott also stepped in to try to get Torres to his daughter’s funeral, writing a letter to President Biden and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear “demanding they do something.” Scott shared the letter on Twitter, which read: “Eliahana and her father were only one week away from having physical contact with each other before the shooting took place.”

However, Scott told TODAY that she never heard back from the president’s office before or after Eliahana’s funeral on Thursday. Meanwhile, Beshear’s office said, “The Governor has no authority over inmates in federal custody.” To that, Scott replied, “The governor is a father as well. At least we could have tried to do something before her funeral. I feel like we continue to fail the people of Uvalde.”

Now that the funeral has passed and Torres was not allowed to attend, Rep. Scott says, “I’m sorry that neither Kentucky nor Texas nor the entire United States government could make that happen.”

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