Southwest Detroit memorials for Emma Valentina Hernandez start Thursday evening as a distressed community honors the 9-year-old dog attack victim.
"Please join us for Emma's candle lighting," family representative Esmeralda Samano asks on Facebook. "Please bring candles and balloons" to St. Hedwig Park for a 5-7 p.m. vigil Thursday, her post adds. The city park is on Junction Avenue at Konkel Street.
Hernandez, an incoming fourth-grader, died Monday as neighbors and other adults tried to drive away three pit bulls mauling the youngster. She and a friend had been bicycling in an alley near her Florida Street home off Kirkwood Street. "It is very likely that the dogs will be euthanized," says a statement from Detroit Animal Care and Control, quoted by the Free Press.
The stunning, gruesome death prompts a community outpouring that spreads beyond flowers and candles outside the Hernandez home.
Nearly 1,900 people have donated more than $57,000 to help the family with funeral costs, burial at Woodmere Cemetery and other expenses. Samano on Tuesday created a GoFundMe page, which was publicized on Twitter that morning by local millionaire and philanthropist Bill Pulte -- who has more than 540,000 followers. The $25,000 goal was soon surpassed.
Observances over two days are located within the neighborhood where Emma's Mexican-American family lives. "Please join us to say our last goodbyes," eight relatives say on Facebook with details.
A five-hour visitation begins at 3 p.m. Friday after a family hour. The site is Professional Mortuary Services at 3833 Livernois Ave., two blocks south of Michigan Avenue and less than two miles from where Armando Hernandez, 33, lives with his wife and Emma's bothers, 4 and 13. A 6 p.m. Rosary service is scheduled at the funeral home.
Rev. Zbigniew Granowski will conduct the funeral Saturday a half-mile from the victim's home. It's at St. Cunegunda Catholic Church, 5900 St. Lawrence St., a block east of Lonyo Street. A final viewing is at 11 a.m., followed by Mass at noon.
Claudia Hernandez, an aunt and godmother of the victim, posts to "thank each and every one for coming together to help my family in these tragic moments. It warms up my heart to see every one that loved and cared for our babygirl."
Condolences on her social media thread include the verse above by San Clark, a friend.