Friends and family remember 10 lost in Payson flood at memorial service

A memorial service for the 10 people killed in a flood near Payson was held in Mesa.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Family of the 10 victims of a flash flood near Payson laid their loved ones to rest Tuesday evening.

During an emotional bilingual mass Tuesday morning, Hector Miguel Garnica Flores (26) was remembered as a hard worker, loved by all. He was married to Maria Del Carmen Raya Garcia (26), who was one day shy of her 27th birthday. The couple had three children, Hector Daniel Garnica Raya (7), Mia Nathalie Garnica Raya (5) and Emily Nicole Garnica Raya (3). Daniel was described as loving, always hugging others.  Emily was the calm, quiet one -- always following her mom and her sister Mia loved attention and doing nails -- even her father’s.

The oldest victim and Maria Del Carmen’s mother was Selia Garcia Castaneda (57) -- a hardworking single mother who loved her grandchildren. Another of Selia’s daughters, Maribel Raya Garcia (24), and son Javier Raya Garcia (19) also lost their lives. Maribel was described as a princess, loved by all, Javier as a great babysitter -- always looking out for the little ones.

EARLIER: Family prepares for final goodbye

The youngest victim was Erika Janel Camacho Raya (2); she was a little movie star who took her doctor’s kit wherever she went looking for others to help. Erika was Maribel’s daughter and Selia’s granddaughter.

Jonatan Leon Villanueva (12) was very close to his grandmother Selia. His love for soccer was such that he could be found playing it any time of day.

After mass, 10 hearses carried their bodies to be buried at Paradise Memorial Gardens. It was a tragic reminder for 8-year-old Asis Raiden Garcia-Baker; he was one of four survivors.

“I care for them very much […] I just feel lucky because, I mean, survived one of the many things that you can’t escape,” Asis said.

Asis is forever grateful to the man he says kept him safe that day.

“I think it was either God put me into this area where I couldn’t move or the water just pushed me there,” Asis said.

Staff at Paradise Memorial Gardens said everything necessary for Tuesday’s funerals -- including plots and their time -- was donated.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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