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‘A mother should never have to bury her child’: Candlelight vigil honors slain Bend couple

Alfredo Hernandez Angela Pastorino vigil photo 821
Bola Gbadebo/KTVZ
One of numerous photos of 'inseparable' Bend couple Alfredo Hernandez, Angela Pastorino displayed at Sunday evening candlelight vigil

(Update: Adding video, comments at vigil; 'Big Sister's remarks in full)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Memories flowed along with the tears as more than 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at a northeast Bend park Sunday evening to honor and remember Angela Pastorino and Alfredo Hernandez, two 18-year-olds found slain in the garage of a southwest Bend home last week.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon invited the public to the vigil, held at Al Moody Park. The Facebook invitation asked participants to "join us as we light a flame of hope and remember" the pair.

"They were bright, loving teens, with family and friends who adored them," the posting said. "Angela loved people almost as much as she loved dogs. Alfredo was known as a sweet, soft-spoken young man who was the first to volunteer to help with any task. They are both survived by their families, struggling to make sense of this tragic loss.

"Please come send light and love to those mourning the lives of these two incredible individuals who will be greatly missed in our community and beyond," the invitation concluded.

At the vigil, the pain was evident, and fresh.

"My son, my son," Alfredo's mother sobbed.

Erin Kevin, Angela's "big" in Big Brothers Big Sisters, said through her tears, "A mother should never have to bury her child."

A friend of the young man said, "I truly wish I could have seen him one last time before he went, just so I can say I love him, too, but…"

A GoFundMe page crated by Kevin to assist the families with memorial expenses has moved quickly toward its $20,000 goal. Kevin posted an update Sunday, thanking all for their contributions.

"The families are so grateful for the support of community, family and friends," she wrote.

---

Kevin later shared with us the full remarks she delivered at the vigil:

"Hello.   My name is Erin and I was Angela’s Big Sister. Thank you all for being here tonight.  The support of this community after such a tragic loss helps us all process and heal.  I need to lean on you right now.  Angela and Alfredo’s families need to lean on you right now.  Violence like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it impacts us all. 

"Many of you know that my day job is in victim assistance.  Every day I have a front row seat to trauma, violence, adversity, healing, and hope.  I see the power of violence every day.  But I also see the power of love every day.  None of my work prepared me to lose Angie this way.  I feel her loss deeply.  But I am choosing to see the power of love and I want to tell you why.   

"I became Angela’s big sister in 2019. When they asked me what I thought my best match was I replied instantly, “Give me a challenging teenager,” because I was also, in fact, a challenging teenager.  I know, firsthand, the power of a caring adult in a child’s life.  I also said it would be great if they could match me with someone who loved dogs, and I saw our match specialist’s face turn to a big grin.  She knew exactly who my match would be. 

"The day I got the call I was buzzing with excitement.  I came to meet Angie and her mom.  My first impression was that Angie was quiet and sweet.  It didn’t take long for her to come out of her shell.  I was right about the sweet part, but I was wrong about the quiet part.  The truth was that Angela wasn’t very challenging at all.  She had seen her share of adversity, that was for sure.  But her exterior was a protective mechanism from the adversity she had experienced in life.  Underneath was this sweet, sincere, loyal, compassionate young lady. 

"The first time we hung out we went to the pumpkin patch.  She wasn’t interested in the corn maze or the caramel apples.  She wanted to see the animals.  She wanted to pet each one.  Little did I know that would be a theme.  We’d go for dog walks and Angie would stop mid-sentence and take off towards a dog and their owner yelling at the top of her lungs, “CAN I PET YOUR DOG?!?!?!”  She never missed one.  Not a single one.  She loved my dog, who is his own version of a challenging teenager.  He’s a little wild and a little intense, but she saw the good in him and he would immediately calm in her presence.  There were times during the pandemic where Angie and I didn’t see each other as often.  Sometimes we would communicate entirely by sharing funny Instagram dog videos.

"She loved her dog Griz, but I think Griz loved her more.  He was at her side all the time.  He never needed a leash because he was tied to her with this invisible string of pure love and loyalty.  And he was there with her until the very end, found pacing outside where we would later learn she was found. 

"As time went on I learned that Angie had a particular talent for understanding others.  I am telling you; this kid had an unnerving ability to read people.  I told her all the time that she would make a great social worker. She could tell what you were feeling with a quick look into your eyes.  She was observant, empathetic, and loyal.  She was trusting and compassionate.  She wanted to make people happy.

"I also learned more about her normal, teenage boundary-pushing side.  She must have asked me a thousand times if she could drive my car.  She was an expert at twerking.  She tried to teach me – it was embarrassing.  When we’d go out to dinner she’d giggle and ask if she could order a beer.  “I know, I know,” she’d say with a sly smile in the corner of her mouth, “That is not a big brothers, big sisters approved activity.”  And we’d get kombuchas.

"When she met Alfredo I remember her telling me what a sweet person he was.  She was so excited to have a boyfriend.  The first time I met him I saw his gentle, sweet smile and was impressed with how polite and considerate he was.  I took them out for dinner at a food cart lot and Alfredo must have said thank you a thousand times.  I saw how they looked at each other and I knew this was the real deal.  They had a bond that was genuinely caring with a dash of teenage mischief.  They supported each other in school, Angie earning her GED in June and Alfredo close to finishing.  The police have yet told us the details of the investigation, but I know in my heart Alfredo died protecting Angie.  I know it. 

"I am eternally grateful to Angie’s mom, Jenn, for letting me be a part of Angie’s life and for trusting me to care for her child.  Jenn realized the importance of our community being part of the love in her child’s life.  She let Angie and I have our own relationship and never tried to interfere with it.  But I loved it when she joined Angie and I on our hangouts.  I hope she felt the same way about me. 

"A mother should never have to bury a child.  Angie and Alfredo should have been safe in our community.  They should have been able to be at this home without someone hurting them.  I resent how the media reported their alcohol use as if alcohol use somehow precipitated their murder.  Kids should be allowed to make mistakes as they grow up.  It is an adult’s responsibility to protect kids and guide them when they make mistakes.  Drinking alcohol does not cause abuse and murder.  And an adult must have provided alcohol to them.  I also resent the media saying Alfredo and the murderer were in a “fight,” as if it were mutual.  Alfredo would not hurt a fly unless he was trying to protect himself or Angie.  The families and I have been contacted by the media repeatedly over the last few days.  And its worth saying, because I thought you might be here.  Members of the media – if you want victims to talk to you, you need to learn how to portray them respectfully in your writing. 

"I am so angry at the person who killed them.  I believe he is pure evil and should never have been allowed to be in society after his prior crimes of burglary, arson, and - in a cruel irony of the universe and juxtaposition to what Angie loved most -horrific animal abuse.  And that is all I am going to say about him.  He deserves none of my time or energy. 

"I recently asked a friend what she thinks happens when we die.  She said something so comforting that I want to share it with you all.  We are born to learn how to love.  That is why hate exists.  We have to live through hate to see the value of our love.  And when we leave this earth, our souls don’t ever go away.  My friend said we are only projections of our eternal souls that live somewhere else.  Our actual being is projected in many forms across the universe and in different dimensions all at once.  We never cease to exist – energy is neither created nor destroyed.  We’re all one – a bigger part of a life force that is so giant, complicated, and interconnected we can’t even comprehend it.  Now, some of that is a little woo-woo for me, but some of it makes so much sense.  Angie and Alfredo aren’t gone.  Their energy is all around us. 

"Maybe it was because of who they were, maybe it was because of the adversity they experienced in life, or maybe it was because of their connection with animals but Angie and Alfredo knew how to love unconditionally, and they showed it to everyone around them.  And so I choose to live like Angie and Alfredo would have wanted us to.  I will see her every time I see a dog’s wagging tail.  And when think of her there will be love and hurt at the same time.  I will feel the hurt… but I will choose the love. 

"Thank you for being here."

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts
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Bola Gbadebo

Bola Gbadebo is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Bola here.

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