Migrant father and daughter who drowned trying to get into U.S. mourned at El Salvador cemetery

The bodies of Óscar Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria lie on the bank of the Rio Grande last week.
The Associated Press

A man and his young daughter who drowned trying to cross into Texas were laid to their final rest Monday, a week after a heartbreaking image of their bodies floating in the Rio Grande circled the globe.

About 200 relatives and friends followed a hearse bearing the bodies of Óscar Martínez and his 23-month-old daughter Valeria inside La Bermeja municipal cemetery in southern San Salvador. The ceremony was private, and journalists were not allowed access.

Many wore black and wept. They carried flowers and green palms, and some held signs bearing the logo of the Alianza soccer team favoured by Óscar Martínez, who belonged to a group that supports the club.

“For those who cheer you on from heaven,” one read.

“I knew them. They are good people, and I can’t believe they died this way,” said Berta Padilla, who arrived earlier along with about 30 others on a bus from Altavista, the working-class city the Martínezes called home before they left in early April, headed for the United States.

“We came from Altavista to be with Óscar’s family,” Padilla added. “We are with them in their pain.”

Tania Vanessa Ávalos, their wife and mother, returned to El Salvador on Friday ahead of their remains.

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About Cholo Brooks 14625 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.