HAMMOND | Multiple police, fire and railroad agencies brought Easter smiles Sunday to a family of children in need of them.
With those smiles came Easter baskets, donations, food, gifts and community love and support.
The recipients were the four children of Renata Garcia Marquez, who was fatally shot March 29 in what authorities say was an act of domestic violence.
About 30 police vehicles lined the street of the Marquez family home, along with Canadian National Railway’s miniature train Little Obie, which gave the Marquez family and friends rides through Hammond streets.
Garcia Marquez had worked with the wife of Eric Graf, a special agent for the CN Police Department. Her workplace provided a donation to the family following her slaying and Graf thought it would be “incredible” if the police could do the same.
“This is the light we want them to see us in,” Graf said. “We thought the only contact this family has had with police and fire is the night of the tragedy."
The plan was to have police escort Little Obie to the home, but it soon evolved, Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said.
“With Assistant Chief (Jeffrey) Long’s help the Hammond Police Department, (we) decided to make it much more than that,” he said. “We wanted to do the Easter baskets and donations and everything was directly from our officers’ hearts. We just wanted to deliver something to the family to show them we care. And when we talked to them today we offered our continued support should they need us in the future.”
Donations reached more than $3,000. Graf said they also will help the youngest daughter, Vanessa, 11, with health concerns.
“I’m really happy and excited and glad that all these people are here to support us,” Vanessa said.
Garcia Marquez’s oldest daughter, Ariana Ruvalcaba, 20, said they’ve received “so much” support from her mother's co-workers, the community and family members.
“They’ve really helped us through this terrible time,” she said. “I’m really upset my mom couldn’t be here to see all this love and support. We’re all thinking of her today.”
Victor Marquez, 38, is accused of murder in the killing of his wife, Renata Garcia Marquez. She was 37. Victor Marquez is being held without bail at an Illinois hospital after he apparently attempted to commit suicide after slaying his wife, police said.
Garcia Marquez had two sons, Victor, 7, and Sebastian, 4. The children are in the care of their grandmother, Esperanza Garcia, who was emotional from the outpouring of support.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing. I don’t have enough words to thank them.”
Garcia said there are days the children will cry and say they miss their mother and wish she was there.
“We all miss her but she’s in a better place,” she said. “We try to comfort each other. What can we do?"