Victim's family receives community support

February 15, 2008 3:29:46 PM PST
Twenty-year-old Catalina Garcia of Cicero was thrilled to be on campus, she told her brother in their last conversation Tuesday. She explained that it was always something she wanted to do. The one thing she was really excited about was that she just got a job with the Center for Spanish Studies, so she was thrilled to be employed on campus.

Garcia was a sophomore in DeKalb. Her family says she wanted to be an elementary schoolteacher. She had three older siblings ? Joel, Jaime and Myra - and was the baby of the family, treated like a princess.

"She was the youngest in the family, so it was definitely something, that she behaved like a princess, and she deserved to be treated that way," said Jaime Garcia.

She decided to follow in her older brother's footsteps, an alum of the school. She just talked to him on Tuesday and she was anxious to come home for her mother's birthday.

"My sister was very loved, well respected, great student, elementary education major, wanted to teach first grade here in the area., bright smile all the time, great person to be around, just general overall like an angel. She was pretty perfect," said Jaime Garcia.

Catalina Garcia graduated from high school in Cicero just two years ago. Her teachers remember her as a very special young lady with great hopes and dreams.

"I just remember her from my English class and always trying to do her best, even through the struggles. And again as I said, she had a beautiful smile on her face every day," said former teacher Lili Contreras.

"She's a bright, sweet kid, shy, but she really seemed to absorb school, and just a very, sad, sad thing," said former teacher Charles Stevens.

The family is grateful for the outpouring they have received from the state, community and the university.

"I want to bring, also, light to the other families and everyone else who was involved. I believe that as a community we all need to be united and band together. That's definitely very important," said Jaime Garcia.

The high school is going to be providing crisis counseling for students and staff who knew Catalina Garcia and feel that they need it. The family said because of the outpouring of support that a number of organizations have offered to help pay for the funeral services, and for that, they are very grateful.