Oakhurst remembers carbon monoxide victims

FRESNO, Calif.

Alexis and Jayden Montoya died from carbon monoxide poisoning along with their grandmother and uncle. Jayden and Alexis were students at Oakhurst Elementary School.

The student body there is still reeling from not only their deaths but also the recent murder of a kindergarten student. So on Saturday parents and teachers gave kids a chance to express themselves during a special memorial service.

A crowd of dozens released red balloons into the Oakhurst sky Saturday to honor 8-year-old Jayden and 10-year-old Alexis Montoya.

The sisters, along with their grandmother Dianna and Uncle Bruce, all died January 16 when carbon monoxide seeped into their home.

"That she's in a better place and that she's watching over me and that she's going to be with me everywhere I go," Dylan Allen said

Dylan Allen was in the same fourth-grade-class as Alexis. The two used to play soccer together.

Dylan wrote a special letter to his friend as did several other students, who shared them with the crowd.

"And you are my guardian angel when I play at school. I miss you Alexis."

"Hope you have the best life up there."

The youthful words touched this community who has dealt with a great deal of loss in a short period of time.

Maryjane Lewis, 5, was murdered just days after the Montoya sisters died.

La Donna Difiore, a relative of the carbon monoxide victims says she hopes people will learn from her family's experience.

"Don't wait for a tragedy to happen to tell you know, your family members you love them, because once they're gone, you can't," Difiore said.

It's an important lesson people here say they'll continue to live by.

Even more so because, some say, that's exactly what Jayden and Alexis would have wanted.

"They are totally here in spirit. They are in every child's heart. And this would be where they would be," Family friend, Jennifer Rogers said.

Jayden and Alexis' mother, the only person who survived, was not at the event.

Friends say, she recently moved to Southern California to be with family members so she can heal.

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