Yermis Santoyo, the father of baby Yaelvis Santoyo Sarabia who was shot dead while aboard a vessel that entered T&T’s waters on February 5, could hardly control his emotions at the funeral of his son at the Church of Nazarene on Robinson Street, Arima yesterday.
With his hands over his heart, Santoyo’s body weakened as he looked at his one-year-old son in a white casket with balloons attached to it.
As his strength gave way, close family members held on to him before bringing him a chair to sit on, from which he cried, broken.
Baby Yaelvis was shot dead as members of the Coast Guard fired at the boat which they said was trying to ram into their vessel after being ordered to stop.
The boat was carrying dozens of migrants and Yaelvis, who was in his mother’s arm at the time, was the only one shot dead.
His mother, Dairelvis Sarabia, who was also shot and injured in the incident and was warded at the Sangre Grande Hospital, was unable to attend yesterday’s funeral service.
She was discharged after the funeral and taken into police custody.
Up to late yesterday, she was at the Sangre Grande Police Station.
She had undergone surgery on Tuesday as doctors placed a metal plate in the shoulder where she was shot.
Guardian Media was informed that no application was made by her attorneys to grant her permission to attend the funeral.
For the duration of Sarabia’s hospitalisation, she was unable to meet with her husband Yermis or her daughter Danna, who were reunited days after the incident.
Sarabia’s attorney, Donnette Julien spoke with Guardian Media after she met with her client at the Sangre Grande Police Station and said that she was in the process of taking instructions from her client.
She said, however, that Sarabia was not well enough to be questioned by the police after such a major medical procedure.
Several Venezuelan migrants came out to show support for the family, with one woman carrying a sign that read, “Migrants are human beings.”
Santoyo’s two-year-old daughter Danna was also not present at the funeral.
The service was officiated in Spanish and baby Yaelvis was laid to rest at the Dabadie Public Cemetary.
At the end, family and friends released balloons as a tribute to baby Yaelvis, whose death has created an outcry among Venezuelans who have called on the International Criminal Court to investigate it.
The T&T Coast Guard and T&T Police Service have embarked on investigations into the matter.