TYLER – Across Tyler, pink ribbons were displayed to celebrate the life of 10-year-old Kayla Gomez Orozco.
They popped up at her school, on her street, even outside local businesses, after the discovery of Kayla’s body ended a multi-day search in East Texas.
Investigators found Kayla’s body in a well at a relative’s home over the weekend. “Kayla is my baby,” said relative Jose Vielma. “The news is terrible for my family.”
Vielma is a cousin of Kayla’s father. He says there are no words for the pain in losing a little angel.
The lone suspect is Gustavo Zavala Garcia, 24, a cousin of Kayla’s mother, though Kayla referred to him as her uncle.
Garcia is in the Smith County Jail on an immigration detainer, but is expected to face more charges in relation to Kayla’s death.
On Monday, investigators were still combing for evidence near his home.
All of it is tough to process for classmates returning to Jack Elementary School for the first time since she was found dead.
“I’m going to miss her really much,” said 10-year-old Zachary Leschke, who was in Kayla’s class last year.
“We’re having a really tough time, so it’s hard to for him to understand that, because he’s used to everything being happy and seeing her every day at school,” said Paula Leschke.
A memorial grows outside the school, as well as near the crime scene.
On Monday students and teachers wore pink, Kayla’s favorite color.
Extra counselors will be on hand all week.
“Jack Elementary School was the center of her life,” said Tyler ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford. “[Her father said] she came home and talked about all the great things that were going on at Jack Elementary.”
Kayla’s immediate family was too heartbroken to go on camera, but said they’re trying to focus on the positive -- that at least they have found Kayla, and they don’t have to wonder where she is or if she’s suffering.
This isn’t the family’s first time coping with unthinkable loss. Vielma’s son, Luis, was gunned down at the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando earlier this year.
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