STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — The Knights Ferry community came together Friday night to hold a vigil in honor of five-year-old Matilda Ortiz.
Matilda was remembered with her favorite song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The emotion proved too much for any father. Her father Roberto Ortiz started to hyperventilate and collapsed while the community sang to his daughter.
Emergency crews attending the vigil made sure he was healthy enough to go on. Roberto said he doesn’t understand how any of this could have happened, but he’s grateful for all the support.
“Before any of this nobody knew who me or my daughter was, but I was perfectly fine with that. I’m just glad a lot of people are going to carry her memory on forever,” Roberto said.
Sheriff’s deputies say Matilda slipped and fell into the Stanislaus River on Sunday. Since then, dozens of people rushed to help in any way they could.
“A lot of people came out from Patterson to Modesto, to Merced to Sacramento. Thank you to everybody who reached out and came to help us. It means so much,” Marissa Vasquez said.
Now Matilda’s parents are hoping everyone will remember their daughter as they will: a happy and loving 5-year-old.
“She always wanted kisses and hugs and love from both of us. From family and friends,” Vasquez said. “I did everything I could to keep her happy. I just wish I would have had more time with her.”
Matilda’s parents said they will be holding a service for Matilda on Wednesday in Patterson. The community is welcome to attend.