UPDATE: Andrea’s mother, Claudia, is trying to get a VISA so she can come from Mexico to participate in her daughter’s funeral service. Getting a VISA is no easy task but I have put her sister in touch with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez’ office. Pray that they will find a way to make this happen!
The O.C. Register reported on Dec. 2, that “An 18-year-old woman found hanging from a tree at Santiago Park has been identified as Andrea Hernandez, authorities said Friday.”
The Register didn’t report much else – and they didn’t follow up on the story. It bothered me that this young resident of our city left us in that way – and her story has not been told.
Today I visited the site where she was found and saw that a memorial had been set up for her, with flowers, a teddy bear and notes and pictures taped to a tree. It is heartbreaking.
At 18, Andrea was a few years younger than my own daughter and a year younger than my oldest son. You could see from the pictures that she was happy at one time . And we know she left behind friends and family, from the comments left at the Register’s article.
I contacted one of the commenters, Jennifer Donna Garcia, who told me that Andrea’s family is having a tough time paying for her burial costs. Click here to access Jennifer’s Facebook page if you want to find out how to contribute to Andrea’s family.
I still don’t know what happened to Andrea – I spoke to two of her friends but they both work nights, like many young people in Santa Ana. But I do know that she was loved and her passing was deeply felt by those who knew her and who are mourning her now.
I gathered from the comments left on the Register article that she may have been in foster care at some point in time. If so, that is a lot to go through. The Olive Crest Foundation does a great job helping local foster kids but their needs are many and once they turn 18, they can end up on their own.
The holidays can be tough for those who are struggling. If you know someone who is having a tough time, you can find suicide prevention resources offered here in Orange County, by clicking here. Please keep Andrea’s friends and family in your prayers.