Shortly before her daughter’s tiny coffin was taken from the church Thursday, Gloria Yanes asked to see the little girl’s body one last time.
“I want to see,” she said, in Spanish.
The white coffin was opened, and Yanes, wrapped in a blanket and clutching two roses, bent over to kiss her daughter, Larissa, goodbye.
Larissa’s funeral was a small, quiet affair after the media storm that took place after police arrested her brother Jonathan Aguiluz for killing the 7-month-old Feb. 8.
About 20 people attended the service, held at the St. Camillus Catholic Church in Silver Spring, in a space that looked like it could easily hold 500 to 600 people.
The service was in Spanish, delivered by Father Erick Lopez, who comforted mourners by speaking about the authenticity and joy with which children approach life.
“Children teach us how to live,” he told the mourners, in Spanish. After the service, mourners declined to talk to The Gazette. Larissa’s body was being cremated, according to a spokesman from Phillip D. Rinaldi Funeral Service.
Larissa was pronounced dead on the morning of Feb. 8. Yanes had left her 14-year-old son, Jonathan Aguiluz, to take care of the child the night before while she worked an overnight shift.
According to charging documents, police say that night, Aguiluz struck his sister, and placed his hands over her mouth and nose to try and make her stop crying.
When she finally stopped making noise, he allegedly walked her around the family’s White Oak apartment, and then placed her in a car seat.
The cause of death was asphyxia, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.
Aguiluz, is being charged as an adult with first-degree murder and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Feb. 22 to determine whether the state will continue with that charge. Any charge less than that would be tried in a juvenile court.
Rosa Hernandes, a neighbor who lives above Yanes and Aguiluz, said Wednesday she often saw the boy playing football in the parking lot outside of his apartment. “God willing, they help the mom and the boy,” she said.