Friends, family remember 7-year-old girl who died after beating
JOHNSTOWN – A 7-year-old girl who died after what police say was a beating that imitated the “Mortal Kombat” video game was remembered at a candlelight vigil as someone who made people laugh.”She could always put a smile on anyone’s face,” Samantha Simonetti, 11, said of her friend and neighbor Zoe Garcia.A crowd of about 100 attended the vigil Sunday night at an elementary school in Johnstown.Police say Zoe died Dec. 6 after being kicked, karate chopped on her shoulders and wrestled.The girl’s half-sister, Heather Trujillo, 16, and Trujillo’s boyfriend, Lamar Roberts, 17, face charges of fatal child abuse in the death. They are being prosecuted as adults and are in jail on $100,000 bail each.The teens were baby-sitting Zoe while the sisters’ mother, Dana Trujillo, 30, was at work. Court documents say the teens were supposedly re-enacting the video game.Zoe lost consciousness after being hit, kicked, and body-slammed to the floor, an affidavit said. She also stopped breathing.Trujillo and Roberts tried reviving Zoe under running water and attempted CPR before calling the sisters’ mother and then 911, according to affidavits.The coroner said Zoe died of blunt-force injuries. An autopsy showed she had a broken wrist, more than 20 bruises, swelling in the brain and bleeding in her neck muscles and under her spine.During the vigil for Zoe , Letford Elementary School Principal Kerry Boren said she was a good student who took school seriously.”She was eager to learn,” Boren said. “She was a take-charge girl.”Jamie Gingery, who baby-sat for Zoe and was a friend of Trujillo and Roberts, said she was shocked by the news.”I saw (Zoe) that afternoon and she was happy and running around,” Gingery said.Zoe’s father, Anthony Garcia, said he and Dana Trujillo had joint custody of Zoe but said he had just discovered her whereabouts after a three-year search. He said he learned of her death Dec. 7.”It’s really tough. I just can’t believe it,” said Garcia, who flew in from Sacramento.He saw his daughter Sunday during a viewing of her body.
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