Uvalde Justice of the Peace Eulalio Diaz has been tasked with the agonizing task of identifying the bodies of the 21 victims who were shot Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in the small Texas town.
Diaz worked into the night to identify the 19 children and two teachers who were gunned down in their fourth-grade classroom as families of the missing anxiously awaited news outside the Uvalde Civic Center, the El Paso Times reported.
Local authorities conducted DNA swabs on members of the waiting families to help identify the children who had failed to make it out of school.
“Some of the kids weren’t in good shape,” Diaz told the El Paso Times.
18-year-old mass shooting suspect Salvador Ramos allegedly used a powerful AR-15-style rifle – which he fired this month a day after his 18 fourth-grader and their two teachers.
In the hours after the shooting, many families were left with little information about their children’s whereabouts.
Parents, aunts, uncles and cousins of Robb elementary school students who didn’t come home and weren’t at a nearby hospital flooded social media with photos of the children and desperate pleas for information.
They waited for hours outside the administration center, fearing the worst, not really knowing if their child was killed, until the bodies were matched with the missing students’ names and photos.
Diaz’s job was to make the matches. He was asked to identify the bodies because Uvalde, a rural town 80 miles west of San Antonio with a population of about 15,200, does not have its own coroner.
He arrived at Robb Elementary School at 2.30pm and noted the time of death of the 21 victims as 3.10pm, he told the local newspaper.
He broke down as he recounted the heartbreak he felt as he gave a name to each of the 21 in the tight-knit town where everyone seems to be a neighbor, friend of a friend or acquaintance.
“We know everyone,” Diaz said, speaking about himself and his family. “We know kids who were there. As soon as we heard from the shooter, calls came in from our families as well.”
“Uvalde is just a small town in southwest Texas,” Diaz said. “It wasn’t on the map.”
His own children in eighth and twelfth grades at nearby schools will long be scarred by the tragedy, he added.
Each victim’s body must be autopsied, and with so many dead, he figured it would take 48 hours for the bodies to be released to loved ones.
He will then have another heartbreaking duty.
“It’s going to be tough when I have to type 21 death certificates,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/26/uvalde-justice-of-the-peace-eulalio-diaz-had-job-of-identifying-texas-school-shooting-victims/ Uvalde Justice of the Peace Eulalio Diaz was tasked with identifying victims of Texas school shootings