It was a day to pay their final respects to a classmate, Natalie Carrillo, 15, and Manteca High did it with class on Friday noon as the entire student body lined the sidewalk in front of the school as the funeral possession for their classmate and three other family members passed by.
One banner held by four friends read, “Bless our Buffalo Angel, Natalie” and then referring to her brother who survived the accident, “We love you Effrain!” Yet, another banner read, “MHS Loves and Cares About You.” A third banner, “MHS Loves You!” also contained signatures of several dozen students as did the Buffalo Angel sign.
Those who lost their lives last week included Maria de los Angeles Carrillo Ruiz, 40, Natalie Saray Carrillo Ruiz, 15, Anthony Carrillo Ruiz, 11 and Diego Carrillo Ruiz, 6. They made their home in a central Manteca neighborhood. Maria was the mother of the children who died in the crash on Interstate 5 near Coalinga.
The procession, with its police escort, moved slowly from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church at 525 East North Street on to Yosemite Avenue and then moved eastward past the high school toward the cemetery. It also passed Lincoln Elementary School where a younger brother Diego had attended classes.
The church was packed as the four caskets were placed close to the altar for the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial. Streets surrounding the church campus were also filled with cars of countless mourners as was the church parking lot.
Family and friends had gathered at the family home on Lincoln Avenue in the evenings for nine days prior to the funeral with everyone following the tradition of praying the Rosary together in memory of the mother and the children.
A cousin wanted to make sure the Carrillos would be able to have the money they needed to pay for the funeral and burial expenses. She opened a Go Fund Me fundraising account online suggesting that the need appeared to be about $25,000. The outpouring of support was staggering as in just a few days of the account being online, it raised some $28,000 from the community – even more than what the family had asked in support.