Bronx Cousins Who Drowned Will Be Buried in Dominican Republic, Rev. Says

By Ben Fractenberg on June 27, 2014 1:15pm 

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 Community members donated money to bury 13-year-old cousins  Wellington Gavin and Erikson Villa, who drowned after swimming in Starlight Park last Friday, back in the Dominican Republic with other family members.  
Money Raised to Bury Drowned Bronx Cousins in Dominican Republic
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THE BRONX — The two 13-year-old cousins who drowned in the Bronx River last week will be buried in their native Dominican Republic, thanks to $7,000 in donations from community members, a family spokesman said Friday.

Wellington Gavin and Erikson Villa — who both drowned after jumping in the Bronx River at Starlight Park June 20 — will also be memorialized in Claremont Village, the neighborhood where the accident happened, the Rev. Joel Bauza told DNAinfo New York.

A wake and funeral service for the cousins was set to start at 3 p.m. Friday at the Bridges Community Church at 1010 E. 174th St. in The Bronx.

The family called for additional safety measures at the park during an emotional press conference Monday near where the boys drowned.

"Please put the gate up around the river or close the park," Erikson's mother, Eva Villa, said during the press conference. "Look at me. I'm empty. I'm empty."

Bauza said they are still seeking donations to help pay for the family’s travel to the Dominican Republic for the burial.

Checks or money orders can be made out to Erikson’s father, Robinson Villa, and mailed to the church at 1010 E. 174th St., Bronx, NY 10460. 

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