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Maryvale Panthers,

Phoenix Arizona


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  Class of 2002:

Born: 1984
Died: 03-14-2005, at age 21, in Phoenix, Arizona
Visitation was held on Tuesday, 03/22/2005 at Asamblea Apostolica located at 1132 W. Joe Blanca in Cashion, Arizona. Funeral Service followed Wednesday, 03/23/2005 at the Church. Arrangements by Crystal Rose Funeral Home. Published in The Arizona Republic on 03/23/2005.
Edwin Parsons

Parsons, Edwin was born to the late Willie C. Hills and Annette Parsons on August 17, 1984 in Phoenix, AZ. He was raised in the Maryvale community in the home of his mother Annette Parsons-Bryant and stepfather Gerald Bryant. Mr. Parsons attended Maryvale High School and the Bryman School. He was preceded in death by his father Willie C. Hills. He leaves to cherish his memories, a loving mother Annette, and stepfather Gerald, two brothers, Thomas Parsons and Anthony Parsons, two stepbrothers Bernard Bryant and Rodney Bryant, two stepsisters Angela (James) Lawrence and Margaret Kelly. He also leaves his Aunties, Callie V ormawor and Mary Bogan, uncle Louis Hills. Mr. Parsons also leaves to cherish, his beloved fiancée Paula Soto and other relatives and friends. A visitation will be held Thursday, June 11th from 5-8 P.M. at Abel Funeral Services 1627 N. 51st Ave. Funeral services will be held Friday, June 12th at 11:00 A. M. followed by burial at Resthaven Park Cemetery in Glendale.

Published in The Arizona Republic on June 10, 2009

Born: approx. 1984
Died: 04-26-1999, at 15 years of age, in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona

Published newspaper article: "Missing 'runaway' found 8 years later."
Michael Kiefer, The Arizona Republic, Dec. 8, 2007
Andy Rodriguez always expected his long-lost son, Victor, to walk through his front door and ask for forgiveness like the Prodigal Son. Maybe he would even have children of his own that he'd want to introduce to his parents. Andy and his wife, Yolanda, in turn, would show him how much love he had left behind. Victor disappeared in April 1999 at age 15, after he and his family quarreled over a girl he was seeing. Andy and Yolanda prayed for his return but never dared to think that he was dead. Besides, they told themselves, someone would have found him. Andy Rodriguez, 42, works the information desk at the Maricopa County Superior Court's downtown complex. He knows his way around government databases, and for the past eight years, he has continuously prowled the Internet to check court and police records, births and deaths. Once, a private investigator turned up a man with Victor's name and date of birth who was living in northern Arizona. But when Andy went to check, the man only spoke Spanish; Victor mostly spoke English. Not long ago, a visitor to the court asked Andy how to find the county Medical Examiner's Office. Unsure of the street address, Andy looked it up online. On the ME's home page he saw a button marked "Unidentified Persons Search," and he shivered. "I got really bad feelings," he said. "It was so bad that I said aloud, 'What am I going to find here?" A family dispute: Victor Ortiz was 3 when Andy and Yolanda married in 1986. He was Yolanda's only child by her first husband, but Andy raised him as his own, coaching him in baseball and basketball. Together, Andy and Yolanda had three more children, who range in age from 10 to 20. Victor's 24th birthday was this year. He was a good kid, tall and athletic. In his freshman year at Maryvale High School, he played football, basketball and baseball and still managed to get good grades. But then, in early 1999, he fell in love. Andy and Yolanda worried about how serious Victor had fallen for the girl. Yolanda told him to invite her to dinner and to Mass so that they could get to know her. That April, Victor came home and told Yolanda that the girl's Mother wanted to speak to her. When Yolanda called, she learned that the other Mother had found a receipt from Planned Parenthood in the girl's possession. She had gone for a pregnancy test; she was just 13 or 14. Andy and Yolanda were upset, too. In addition to being conservative Catholics, Andy didn't want his son to be a teen-pregnancy statistic. "If you have a kid now, you aren't leaving him with us, you're taking care of him," he told Victor. Andy and Yolanda asked Victor to cool the relationship.
Instead, Victor ran away, first to the girl's house and then to an uncle's house. Andy brought him home both times. Then they had a heart-to-heart talk with Victor, and they felt they were back on track. That weekend, Yolanda asked Victor to spend a few nights with his grandmother to help her around the house. On Friday night, Victor asked his grandmother if she would drive him to his girlfriend's house. She told him she'd take him the next day. In the morning, when she went to wake him up, he was gone, his bed stuffed with clothes and pillows to look like he was still sleeping.
Awaiting a homecoming: Andy and Yolanda looked everywhere for Victor. They drove the streets and called every friend and relative. They went to the girl's house, but she hadn't seen him. No one had.
Yolanda filed a police report, and they waited to hear from Victor. Surely he'd be home for his sister's birthday, then Mother's Day, then Christmas. They told themselves that he was angry with them over the girl, and they pretended to come to grips with it. But still they hoped that every holiday would be the one that brought him back. "I've been praying for my son for eight years," Yolanda said. "But I've been praying for him to come home. I've been praying for him to be safe and to open his heart to know how much his family misses him. . . . "All these years, we've had this in our heads that he just didn't want to come home. I think the worst I ever thought was he could be living in the streets."
Andy was angry. And in hindsight, he says the anger helped him sidestep the guilt he felt. Maybe he was too strict, he would think. Maybe he should have listened. Still, he kept looking. "He wasn't mad at us," he says now. He wasn't trying to stay away from us. He was gone." Finding Victor:
Three-quarters of unidentified bodies in U.S. morgues and cemeteries come from just four states, and Arizona is one of them. There were 569 collected in Arizona from 1980 to 2004, according to federal statistics. The Unidentified Persons page on the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Web site has nearly 200 listings dating to 1970. Andy first entered a date to start the search, but the victim whose file came up closest to the day Victor disappeared seemed off-target: The deceased was described as 20 to 45 years old. Victor was 15. Andy looked at several pages before he went back to check the photograph of that victim. The man's face was too wide to be Victor's, but the eyes caught Andy's attention. They were Yolanda's eyes. He looked at several other pages but kept going back to the photo with the haunting eyes. That evening, Andy went looking for photographs of Victor, and the next day he compared them with the photo on the Web site. The eyebrows matched, and so did the hair line. Then, he read that the victim had a hairy mole on the back of one leg. "I told my boss I had a medical emergency, and I went straight to the Medical Examiner's Office," he said.
When he finished there, he called Yolanda and told her not to go out to lunch. When they were together in her boss' private office, he said, "I found this Web site, and I was wondering what I would find. It's for the Medical Examiner's Office." Yolanda jumped up to run out of the room. "I really don't want to know," she said. "Don't tell me nothing." A troubling end: Within days, Victor was positively identified from a thumb print taken at a school health fair. They found that he was buried in a pauper's grave in Litchfield Park. Andy and Yolanda are still trying to obtain a death certificate so that they can start the process of moving his remains to a Catholic cemetery nearer to their house. Meanwhile, they put a wire fence border and flowers and a name plaque on the grave. When they read the police report on Victor's death, they learned that he had not run away at all and was probably only sneaking out to see his girlfriend. He was blocks from her house, walking up 35th Avenue in front of Carl T. Hayden High School just before midnight on April 25, 1999, when a car veered out of control and crashed into a bus-stop shelter. Several witnesses stopped to check on the driver, but he bolted from his car and fled on foot. Minutes later, the witnesses realized a young man was crushed beneath the car. He was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center with massive injuries, and he died in surgery at 4:30 in the morning. He had no identification with him.
The driver of the car that hit him was caught almost immediately. Daniel Esquivel, then 22, had a blood-alcohol content that registered 0.205, more than twice the legal limit. He was in the country illegally and was initially charged with second-degree murder. However he was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10½ years in prison. But no one went looking for the family of the dead boy. He had no ID, and, as Phoenix police sources theorize now, he appeared older than he really was, and so there was no apparent match to the runaway report. So the police report ends with Esquivel's arrest. A brief note in the court record refers to the dead person as an apparent illegal immigrant and asks that his medical records be released. When Yolanda first read the police report, she realized that Victor never knew what hit him. "I read it over and over and over. There's a lot on the driver and the car . . . " she paused. "What hurt was that I didn't see anything in this report . . . there was nothing in there . . . ," she said. It took three tries until she got it out.
"I don't see anything where they try to find his identity." Yolanda Rodriguez held a photo of her missing son, Victor, a Maryvale High School student who disappeared in April 1999 at age 15.



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