Salazar Children Laid to Rest near Dinuba

September 18, 2009 7:25:05 PM PDT
The five tiny white caskets lay side by side at Smith Mountain Cemetery outside Dinuba. Carlos, Jocelyn, Monique, Michael, and Sienna Salazar are being laid to rest six weeks after the horrific crash that killed them.Their mother Jennifer Salazar was just recently released from the hospital. Her extensive injuries will have her bound to a wheelchair for a while. Her Uncle Jim Garcia said, "She still has a couple broken ankles, broken femur, broken pelvic bone, broken shoulder and fractured neck and some facial fractures." Garcia said the funerals weren't held sooner because his niece wanted to be able to say goodbye, to the five angels she and her husband Carlos brought into this world, and tragically, lost all at once. Garcia said, "No one can ever put into words exactly what is felt or seen, I mean 5 caskets is just horrendous." Family Pastor Robert Hooks said, "The depths of their pain are too great for anybody to imagine."

The ceremony at Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church was heart wrenching. Our camera wasn't allowed inside but the family welcomed me to sit in for the hour and a half service. Hundreds of people wiped away tears as they listened to an aunt talk about each child's nickname and unique personality. Carlos was called "boo boos" and known as a skater boy. Jocelyn or "Jothie" was the big girl who didn't cry. "Moniquie" was tough and tender. Mikey, the quiet comedian. One year old Sienna or "Nena" was simply the baby. Blasa Garcia, Jennifer's childhood friend said, "It's hard. I can't even imagine what's she's going through."

Pastor Hooks, who's known Carlos and Jennifer for more than 20 years, hasn't left the couple's side since the accident that shattered their family of seven. He said, "They're doing pretty good right now but in the weeks to come they're going to need a lot of support and a lot of counseling, a lot of questions."

Jennifer Salazar has a long physical and emotional recovery ahead. She is not ready to go back into the family home so she and Carlos are staying with her uncle.

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