SAN ANTONIO – Mother’s Day is a day of mourning for Saryah Perez’s family.
The barbecue at Elmendorf Park felt like an ordinary Mother’s Day, but it was dark for the family.
“We are taking matters into our own hands. For me, it started yesterday. For mom, it literally started at midnight,” said Cynthia Alvarez, Saryah’s grandmother.
Right now, Saryah Perez was shot and killed last Mother’s Day. Today, her family is honoring her heavenly one-year anniversary with a barbecue and a balloon release right across from where Saryah’s mother, Kassandra, calls for help for her baby girl. @ksatnews pic.twitter.com/2aIp4vVTmL
— Leigh Waldman (@LeighWaldman) May 8, 2022
For Saryah’s mother, Kassandra Mendoza, that means looking across 24th Street to the gas station where she breathed her last in her mother’s arms.
“I feel like just seconds ago I was holding her in my arms, trying to pull her back, and I couldn’t,” Mendoza said.
A year ago, Saryah was at a car show with her family on Mother’s Day when a fight broke out and shots were fired, hitting her in the chest as the car drove into where she was was starting.
“I refuse to let another child go through the tragedy that we had to go through another family, having to walk childless like we have to,” Mendoza said.
Over the next year, her family preserved Saryah’s name and memory through a non-profit organization called Blessings of Saryah Lee’anna.
“We made a… back to school backpack gift. We made a Thanksgiving plate and named five families for Christmas,” Alvarez said.
On Sunday, their pain was palpable. The family had to hold each other just to stay together.
“It breaks me every time because that’s when she took her last breath in my arms,” Mendoza said.
Saryah’s little cousin and best friend held her ashes, her memories and her love, as the days passed without her smile and laughter holding them together.
Andrew Ray Elizondo faces a murder charge in Saryah’s death. If convicted, he faces 99 years in prison. Elizondo’s next court date is July 18.
Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.