SAN ANTONIO – Mother’s Day is a day of mourning for Saryah Perez’s family.
The BBQ at Elmendorf Park looked like your average Mother’s Day festivity, but it was a somber one for the family.
“We’re taking it tough. For me, it started yesterday. For Mom, it literally started at midnight,” Cynthia Alvarez, Saryah’s grandmother said.
Happening now, Saryah Perez was shot and killed last Mother’s Day. Today, her family is honoring her 1 year heavenly anniversary with a BBQ and balloon release just across the street from where Saryah’s mother Kassandra call 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 at the gas station where she took her last breath in her mother’s arms.
“It feels like just a few seconds ago, I was holding her in my arms, trying to bring her back, and I couldn’t,” Mendoza said.
One year ago, Saryah was at a car show with her family on Mother’s Day when a fight broke out and gunshots were fired, hitting her in the chest as the car she was in sped off.
“I refuse to let any other child go through the tragedy we had to go through another family, have to walk without a child the way we have to,” Mendoza said.
In the year that’s followed, her family has kept Saryah’s name and memory alive through a nonprofit called Saryah Lee’anna’s Blessings.
“We did a ... back-to-school backpack giveaway. We did a Thanksgiving plate and we nominated five families for Christmas,” Alvarez said.
On Sunday, their pain was palpable. The family had to hold one another just to keep it together.
“It breaks me every time because that’s where she took her last breath in my arms,” Mendoza said.
Saryah’s baby cousin and best friend held her ashes, memories, and love, as the days ticked by without her smile and laugh that held them together.
Andrew Ray Elizondo is facing a felony murder charge in Saryah’s death. If convicted, he could face 99 years in prison. Elizondo’s next court date is July 18th.