Campers remember 12-year old Guatemalan girl killed in Smithfield car accident

by James Swierzbin

JSwierzbin@abc6.com

 

A memorial service was held Friday night in Smithfield to honor 12-year old Daniela Heredia who was killed in a car accident this past Sunday.

The service was a way for the girls who attended the camp that Daniela was supposed to go to honor her memory and grieve before they leave camp Saturday morning.

The dozens of girls who should have gotten to know Daniela during a week at a faith based camp had to say goodbye to Daniela, not in person, but with a picture.

“It's made them reflect a lot on their own lives and where they're headed and how their living their lives.” said camp director Renee Pomarico.

Pomarico never thought she'd have to deal with one of her campers dying, especially one who wanted to come to the camp so badly.

“It was just too much, it was too much to handle.” said Pomarico.

The girls who attended the camp wanted to say goodbye to Daniela in their own way, and pitched in to buy a memorial wreath, for the service.

One of the girls most effected by Daniela's passing was 13-year old Emily Jansen, who was expecting to make a special connection with the 12-year old girl from Guatemala.

“Everyone pulled a name out of a bag and that was kinda your secret friend for the week and I picked Daniela. So when I found out that she passed, it was like really hard for me.” said Jansen.

But along with the grieving and pain, there was also hope.

As these young girls, took Daniela's passing as a way to reflect on their own lives in a meaningful way.

Taking a tragic and traumatic event and turning it into a positive, life lesson.

“It just made us realize we don't know how much time we've got left, so I think that was a really great lesson.” said 14-year old camper Abigail Roth.

The 7-other girls from Guatemala who traveled to Rhode Island with Daniela, left yesterday to return to their home country to be with Daniela's family for her funeral.

Meanwhile the 80-year old driver of the car that hit Daniela hasn't yet been charged with any crime, although police have asked the DMV to revoke his license.