Piqui’s mother, Ana Estevez, supported by Police Chief Art Miller and carrying her beloved son’s favorite hat, solemnly made her way up the stairs of Holy Family Church today to lay her son to rest.
Lining the steps of the church was a breathtaking presence of law enforcement, there to honor the boy they had all searched for.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell spoke of the fifteen law enforcement agencies represented today who worked tirelessly day and night to bring Piqui home, never losing hope as they searched and worked on the case.
Dozens and dozens of law enforcement were present in uniform from South Pasadena, Sierra Madre, San Marino, Claremont, Los Angeles and more. Special thanks were offered by Ana Estevez and her family to lead detectives Louie Aguilera and Joe Mendoza.
The church overflowed with friends, family and community members all wanting and needing to honor this child that had touched their hearts. Presiding over the ceremony was Monsignor Connolly who had the difficult task of trying to comfort under the most tragic of circumstances but, as is his way, he spoke beautifully of the blessings this child brought not only to his mother and his family but to a whole community.
Also present in the congregation were Mayor Michael Cacciotti, City Council Members Bob Joe and Marina Khubesrian as well as Supervisor Kathryn Barger. The community came out to show whatever support possible to the grieving family and everything for the service was donated by people who just wanted to reach out to help. Workers even had shown up just to help with the reception.
Chief Miller, obviously very close to the case and to the family from the first day, was asked to give a eulogy where he spoke poignantly of a life cut far too short and offering this poem:
Young Life Cut Short
Do not judge a biography by its length, Nor by the number of pages in it
Judge it by the richness of its contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant
Do not judge a song by its duration, Nor by the number of its notes
Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful
And when something has enriched your life, and when its melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished? Or is it endless?
And as only a mother can do, Ana Estevez, supported by her mother and Chief Miller, read a letter she penned to her beloved Piqui. More than anything, this mother wants us all to speak of her son often; to tell stories about him, about his generosity, his joy and his kind heart. In this way, we honor him and he lives on in all of us.
South Pasadena Police Chief Miller’s full text:
No one ever thinks that they will be saying a final good bye to a youngster; they seem too full of life and all that promise of things to come-you don’t expect to find yourself in a place like this, on a day like this, to mark the end of a life that hardly even started, but we are saying farewell to this beautiful little child ‘Piqui’ long before his time-and that doesn’t feel at all alright.
I have spoken to Ana about Piqui, his personality, his way of being. I learned that his favorite superhero was the Disney character ‘Elena of Avalor.’ He liked her because she liked to help people. There was something magical about her and the ‘Scepter of Life’ she used to help others.
According to Ana, Piqui was a helping figure and wasn’t afraid of anything. He loved it when Ana would read to him and together they would role play the characters of the books they read. Piqui had an analytical mind, he was highly intelligent. He was able to write his first and last name. He could add and subtract. He had a magical and magnetic personality. As a 5 year old he brought people together. People stopped what they were doing to watch or listen to Piqui.
One of Piqui’s favorite excursions was to walk along the beach at Bolsa Chica and collect sea shells. At Ana’s home sits a jar half full of sea shells that he collected. Ana would take Piqui to school, Luis Barriere-the school custodian-would take him on his rounds to clean classrooms. Later, when shopping with his mom, Piqui wanted to buy a bouquet flowers for Luis.
Although Piqui was only with us for a very short time, he had a huge personality and it was hard not to notice him, small as he was. That’s one of the things that makes his sudden loss so very difficult to come to terms with. Knowing that is going to make it very hard to accept. I am sure many here today have your own special memories of Piqui.
At a time like this, there are so many different feelings- despair, anger, sorrow, confusion. And so many questions. Amid all that, our hearts go out to Ana and her family for the great burden they bear today and will come to bear in the coming days.
I would like to recite a very short poem titled ‘Young Life Cut Short.’ The author is unknown: Do not judge a biography by its length, Nor by the number of pages in it. Judge it by the richness of its contents. Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant. Do not judge a song by its duration Nor by the number of its note. Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul. Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful. And when something has enriched your life. And when its melody lingers on in your hear. Is it unfinished? Or is it endless?
Today, it’s difficult to even begin to talk of ‘comfort’ but in the months and years ahead, as we remember little Piqui I hope we gain strength from realizing, as we look back on his life, just how much of an affect he had on us in the short time he was with us.”
-South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller