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Funeral Held for Bronx Cousins Pulled From Hudson River

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TWC News: Funeral Held for Bronx Cousins Pulled From Hudson River
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Funeral services were held Friday for the two 13-year-old cousins pulled from the Bronx River the previous Friday. NY1's Magee Hickey filed the following report.

Family, neighbors, friends and classmates came out Friday to mourn the loss of two young lives, 13-year-old cousins Erickson Villa and Wellington Gavin.

"There's nothing you can really tell a mother or father with the loss of a child. There's nothing you can say," . Just be there with them, and that's what we're doing," said Joel Bauza, pastor of the Bridges Community Church.

It was a private funeral at the Bridges Community Church, but the overflow crowd spilled out onto the street to share their grief.

Among them were teachers and students from I.S. 98, where the cousins were both in seventh grade.

"I'm worried that this might, down the road, affect them, how it's going to affect them," said Carmen Padilla, Villa's bilingual teacher. "And even though they got grief counseling in school, I don't know what's happening for the summer for them. It's just a tragedy."

The two boys were part of a larger group of children at Starlight Park who decided to swim in the Bronx River. Both of them died in the exact same spot where two other people died four years ago.

"We want people to put a gate around the lake so we won't lose more friends," said 15-year-old Yasique Jordan.

"I went through a tragedy right now, and I don't want other people to feel the same thing I felt," said 13-year-old Christian Bailon.

Starlight Park is run by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, but for fences to be installed, the New York State Division of Environmental Control must sign off on the plan, something that has yet to happen.

"I'm upset because the Parks Department hasn't reached out to the family to help them, to give their condolences, their sympathy," said Ilka Rios, a member of the Community Education Council. "These parents shouldn't have to struggle and look for donations to send their children back home."

Donations are being collected at the Bridges Community Church to help pay for the funerals and the burial in the Dominican Republic, set for Monday.

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