5 YEAR OLD NIAYA VILLEGAS DIES AFTER HER MOTHER’S EX SLICES HER THROAT – LAID TO REST BY LOVED ONES – UPDATED 09.10.2014
5 YEAR OLD NIAYA VILLEGAS DIES AFTER HER MOTHER’S EX SLICES HER THROAT
LTWH family member, Shaydee Watson, brought this case to my attention after it occurred in her home town. It’s exceptionally hard when these tragedies happen quite literally in our own back yards – so thank you Shaydee for sharing.
Naiya Villegas was a beautiful little 5 year old girl. She lived happily in a San Angelo, Texas home with her mother, Tanya Bermea. Tanya’s ex-boyfriend, Isidro Miguel De La Cruz, broke into the home through a back bathroom window very early Tuesday, the morning of September 2, and refused to leave the home when confronted by Tanya. Tanya then left the home to call her mother, Jesusita Bermea, who arrived quickly. When they attempted to go back in the home, De La Cruz refused to let them in. Little Naiya remained inside the home with her soon to be murderer.
TIME OUT – I don’t have all the details, and I don’t know the family, but I am very confused as to how Tanya could leave her daughter alone in the home with this man who clearly did not have good intentions. What she did next concerns me more, and again while I am not condemning Tanya, I am seriously questioning how a parent could leave their child alone in a home with someone like this. I know I would never be able to leave my boys – they would be the first ones I would get out of the home.
Tanya left and drove to De La Cruz’s mother’s home in hopes of getting help to make De La Cruz leave her home. By the time she returned, De La Cruz had sliced Naiya’s throat, the little girl never stood a chance. When Tanya entered her home, De La Cruz punched her several times, pushing her out onto the sidewalk where he then proceeded to choke her. When police arrived at the home, they saw De La Cruz re-entering the home and Tanya in the front yard.
Officer Marcus Rodriguez entered the home and was horrified to find a gruesome sight, Naiya laying on the living room floor with De La Cruz holding paper towels to her throat. The home was covered with blood on the walls, blinds, floor, kitchen and in Naiya’s bedroom. Police quickly found the knife used to murder the little girl underneath a vehicle parked at the home, an area which was also covered in blood. De La Cruz was taken into custody and charged with capital murder, a charge that carries a punishment of life without parole or the death penalty. De La Cruz is being held on a bond of $1 million.
Tanya and Jesusita were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Naiya, also taken to the hospital, passed away an hour after the first call was placed to 911, reporting alleged domestic violence. There was nothing emergency doctors could do to save her life. San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez stated that this was the most horrific homicide he has ever seen involving a child.
On Friday, the Tom Green County Coalition of Violence held a candlelight vigil for Naiya on the court house lawn. Hundreds of community members attended the vigil in honor of Naiya and in support of her family. The family sat before the steps of the court house wearing purple shirts with Naiya’s sweet face on them. As speakers began to address the attendees, the family silently sobbed, overcome with grief and the shock of losing Naiya far before her time. President of the Coalition of Violence, Crystal Ward, was the first to speak. Sharing statistics on the reality of violence within the community and she made a plea for the citizens to come together and stop the cycle of violence, to make changes to protect our children, our families and our homes.
Next to speak was Karen Schmeltekopf, a bereavement counselor at the Hospice. She asked the community to “Continue walking with Naiya’s family. Not just tonight, but in the days, months and years to come.” As sad as I am to say this, I do have a sentiment that I like to think of most in times like this, and Schmeltekopf shared it with the family. “There’s an old saying, it’s darkest before the dawn. And it feels pretty dark right now. But here’s the good news, neither violence nor death has the last word. A law of physics is that matter and energy can never be lost. So whenever a life ceases to exist, it stops existing only in that form. That means that Naiya’s energy is still with us, only in a different form.”
As candles were lit and purple ribbons were handed out, speakers continued to address the crowd, mourners filed past the court house steps, leaving behind small gifts, flowers and candles for Naiya. Naiya’s family wore pink and black ribbons, Naiya’s favorite colors. Another speaker came forward, Naiya’s pastor, Richard Patrick. He recalled the last time he saw Naiya, saying that the Sunday before her death, he had seen her and her grandmother approaching the church. He stood in front of the door and asked Naiya what the password was to get in – “Jesus” he whispered to the little girl. “Little did I know that 24 hours later she would be stepping into eternity, standing before the throne of God, being asked that same question … What’s the password to get in Naiya?”
Anyone who wishes to make donations for funeral expenses can do so at the GoFundMe page created for the little girl by family friends. Any remaining funds after the funeral expenses are paid, will go to Tanya.
Naiya’s funeral has not been set for a date yet, but we will be watching this closely and provide everyone with the information and updates as they come in. Thank you so much Shaydee for sharing Naiya’s story with us, you are yet another angel advocate honoring the short life of a precious little girl.
NAIYA VILLEGAS LAID TO REST AS LOVED ONES HONOR HER LIFE
05.14.2009 – 09.02.2014
Naiya’s funeral was held yesterday, laying this beautiful girl to rest amidst the pain and anguish of those who knew her.
Naiya, also known as Gigi to her family, was the typical active 5 year old girl. She loved Disney movies, especially Frozen and Brave. A creative little girl, you could often find her coloring, playing the guitar and singing. This was Naiya’s first year of school, having just started Kindergarten at Alta Loma Elementary School. Naiya was excited for school and with her beautiful, smart and talkative personality, she was a joy to have in the classroom. At home, Naiya enjoyed cooking with her Mom and spending time with her siblings and cousins. Naiya shared an exceptionally close relationship with her grandparents, Lito and Lita, and often enjoyed accompanying them to church.
Included in Naiya’s obituary was the following,
Fly, fly little wing,
Fly beyond imagining.
The softest cloud, the whitest dove,
Upon the wind of heaven’s love.
Past the planets and the stars,
Leave this lonely world of ours.
Escape the sorrow and the pain,
And fly, fly again.
Fly, fly precious one,
Your endless journey has begun.
Take your gentle happiness,
Far too beautiful for this.
Cross over to the other shore,
There is peace forever more.
But hold this memory bittersweet,
Until again we finally meet.
Fly, fly do not fear,
Don’t waste a breath, don’t shed a tear.
Your heart is pure, your soul is free,
Be on your way, don’t wait for me.
Above the universe you’ll climb,
On beyond the hands of time.
The moon will rise, the sun will set,
But I won’t forget.
Fly, fly little wing,
Fly where only angels sing.
Fly away, the time is right,
Do now, find the light.
Rest in peace baby girl. We will forever remember your love and joy, and we will find you justice. Fly high baby.
Shaydee – once again, thank you so much for bringing Naiya into our lives.