SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio community came together Saturday to honor the short life of baby James Chairez.
This comes nearly a month after his remains were found at a West Side mobile home park, where he lived with his mother.
The memorial was held at the Castle Ridge Mortuary.
Mariesol Benavidez-Gomez, James’ great aunt, reported him and his mother, D’Lanny Chairez, missing in February. This came after Benavidez-Gomez said she hadn’t seen James since Thanksgiving of 2020, despite being in constant communication with his mother.
“I believed her every time she said they were fine and it’s okay and that they were going to take a break, or he was asleep,” Benavidez-Gomez said. “That is what hurts the most is that I believed her and she just lied to me.”
Following a statewide search, Chairez was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence in connection with the investigation.
San Antonio police said they found blood on a crib sheet during their initial search of Chairez’s trailer.
The disappearance, the blood, and now James’ remains are still very shocking to Benavidez-Gomez.
“I think about the relationship they had together so I don’t understand how a switch could be flipped that quick. He’s just gone in an instant, and no way of saying goodbye to him,” Benavidez-Gomez said. “We didn’t even know anything was wrong.”
KJ’s Angels’ Executive Director Jasmine Anderson has been closely assisting the family by raising funds and awareness about the case.
She and the family believe mental health played a role in this tragedy.
“D’Lanny shut everybody out, her family, and pretended everything was okay and we can’t do that. As a society, we can’t do that and we have to accept our mental health,” Anderson said.
The family is hopeful to get Jame’s remains for cremation before what would have been his second birthday on July 16.
His autopsy is still pending at this time, and the earliest it could be conducted is July 1st, according to officials.
San Antonio police have not said if more charges will be brought against the child’s mother, who is currently being held in the Bexar County Jail.