Family makes plea for help to bury boy - News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Family makes plea for help to bury boy

by Nick Delgado

Guam - With a mother behind bars for negligent homicide and a father behind bars awaiting trial for attempted robbery, the family of 9-year-old Brandon James Evangelista is having trouble laying him to rest.  The situation has resulted in pleas from the boy's grandmother, who lives in Las Vegas.

"He's been in the morgue now, I think, already for a week," said an emotional Rosa DeJesus.  "I'm stuck here in Vegas. I wish I could come home to Guam and help my kids to bury him. But what can I do?  I need help."  She is still shocked about the loss of her grandson Brandon.  The child died in a tragic incident when he fell off the trunk of his mother's car and was run over by another vehicle driven by his godmother.

The family had gone to the beach and was switching locations when the incident happened on an access road near Tanguisson in Dededo.  His mother, Rose Marie Evangelista; his godmother, Theodora Hernandez; and Roy Cruz, Sr. and Roy Cruz, Jr. all remain behind bars as police allege they gave conflicting statements about how Brandon died.

"Up until now I'm still hurt to hear that my grandson is gone. That's my second grandson that left me out of my son's sons.  I'm still hurting right now," said DeJesus.  She says she struggles to bury her grandson from thousands of miles away, as she says the boy's family on Guam hasn't made any arrangements for rosaries or a funeral.

"My oldest daughter told me that she talked to the mother of my grandson and she gave her the permission for them to go on through her lawyer, Julie Rosete...[she] gave my daughter Diane permission for them to bury him," she explained.

The grandmother's boyfriend, Manuel Andersen, Jr., is also asking for help.   He told KUAM News, "There's nobody else that can help monetarily, nobody has no money or nothing; we're asking the people of Guam please for the love of God and for the love of this child, please help, whatever you can."  He added, "She is asking the Chamorro people to open their hearts - Familian Todu I."

The local Medical Examiner's Office says the government would have to foot the bill if Brandon's body is not claimed.

For the time being, DeJesus says two of Brandon's siblings are with family members while four others are in the custody of Child Protective Services. CPS Administrator Lydia Tenorio said, "It's already traumatic just to separate children from their parents - it's traumatic as can be, because early on in the case we want to make sure that their protected, that the safety issues are already taken care of; and at that point siblings' visitations and also visitation with parents."

Meanwhile, rose hopes that the community will respond to the family's pleas for help.  "Please help me to bury my grandson. That's all I ask," she said.  "If I could be there, but I can't right now and I need help to get back to my family to bury my grandson."

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