Birthday bash celebrates life of Robb Elementary victim Annabell Rodriguez

Annabell Rodriguez would have turned 11 years old on November 29th.

UVALDE – A birthday bash was held in Uvalde Sunday night.

It was a night to remember and celebrate at the American Legion.

Monica Gallegos was surrounded by family and friends to celebrate her daughters Angeli and Annabell’s upcoming 11th and 14th birthdays respectively.

”It feels very great and exciting’s a blessing to have everybody here with us tonight,” Monica said.

For Angeli, it’s her first birthday without her twin sister Annabell.

Reporter Leigh Waldman asked Angeli what her favorite part of the night was and her response was simple: “Annabell.”

Angeli said she could feel her sister there with them.

It’s a feeling shared by her older sister Anastasha.

“My friend had took a picture of me before everything, before we got dressed and my picture glow. And it was like a, like a yellow and you could see her face in it. And then earlier this morning, Lidia had told me, ‘remember Bell is always with you.’ And when I saw that, I felt like she was there,” Anastasha said.

Across the pink and blue decorations and the crowd of families laughing and dancing, Annabell’s pictures stand watch.

On the back of their shirts, she’s smiling with her forever love Xavier Lopez.

“Annabell was my daughter-in-law. She still is my daughter-in-law,” Xavier’s mom Felicha Lopez said. “I feel very special that they honored Xavier along with the girls. I feel very happy and I feel the love.”

The love the two fourth graders shared is remembered forever.

As is the love they have for the ones they left behind, the ones they watch dance the night away for Angeli and Anastasha.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Adam Barraza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12 and an El Paso native. He interned at KVIA, the local ABC affiliate, while still in high school. He then moved to San Antonio and, after earning a degree from San Antonio College and the University of the Incarnate Word, started working in news. He’s also a diehard Dodgers fan and an avid sneakerhead.