“We all come from God and we will all return to God,” Pastor Patricio Torras said Thursday in a crowded chapel on the south side of Roswell, where family members and friends said goodbye to loved ones, victims of Saturday’s quintuple homicide that took the lives of Cynthia Villegas, 34, and her four daughters Yamilen, Cynthia Janeth, Abby and Ida.
Torras said the victims are now in the presence of God.
“They are absent from these bodies, but they are present before the Lord,” Torras told the funeral crowd of more than 100 people.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” he said, “He maketh me lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me to still waters.”
Rosa Hernandez, one of Cynthia Villegas’ closest friends, told the Daily Record before the funeral that the mother of four daughters was an outstanding mom
“She was a very loving person,” Hernandez said. “She was always helping, she had a big heart, she wanted to help everybody. She’s an excellent mother, she was an excellent wife and she was just an excellent person in general.”
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake,” Torras continued.
Beginning preparations for Yamilen’s quinceanera, Hernandez said the 14-year-old girl talked frequently about being a nurse because she wanted to help others.
“Yamilen was a person that always liked to study, just like her mother,” Hernandez said. “She wanted to be a nurse, just like her mom. She would always be helpful because she liked to help others, just like her mom.”
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” Torras said.
According to Hernandez, Abby would always ask if Hernandez would be the one to pick her (Abby), and Hernandez’s daughter up from school because she would always play the music up loud and would have the air conditioner going and that’s something they both liked and enjoyed.
“She would always play the music that they liked and she would tell them to let their hair loose and dance away with it and they loved it,” Hernandez said.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over,” Torras said.
With dreams of being a teacher, Cynthia Janeth was about the same age as Hernandez’ daughter and they went to the same school. They had just graduated fifth grade and were getting ready to go to Berrendo Middle School. Hernandez said she would tell Cynthia Janeth a lot of difficult Spanish words with the ‘r’ she couldn’t pronounce and they would just laugh.
Cynthia Janeth would always say, ‘don’t laugh at me, I love you, you’re my aunt,'” Hernandez said.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” Torras continued.
“Ida was a beautiful child,” Hernandez said. “I was with her when she was born, in the delivery room. She was always happy.”
Torras said the quintuple homicide has united the Roswell community.
“We know that the city, the society of Roswell, was touched even though through the situation, God is there with you because the Apostle Paul says that everything else is perfect,” Torras said. “And this situation has united the city, has united the families, has united the nation and it has brought a message of hope to say we can do better. We can do things better. The church has a great responsibility to work more with our members to be able to get through to them, to their hearts. To change them from the inside, to transform them.”
Torras told family members not to blame themselves, that all things happen as a result of God’s will.
“Only the spirit of the Lord can transform the inside so that we can live a united life of affection of love,” he said. “There is hope for your life. There is hope for the city of Roswell. We need to come closer to the one that gives life. Nobody in the city can promise you eternity, only our Lord Jesus Christ.
“God has a place prepared for the family Villagas-Rosales. And God has a place for you.”
Staff writer Bethany Freudenthal can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or firstname.lastname@example.org.