Family of Juana Edith Alvarez, one of the victims that died trapped in a submerged vehicle Thursday at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin, is inconsolable.
Alvarez along with her 10-year-old son Jesse Alvarez, 7-year-old daughter Emily Espino and 4-year-old son Joe Alvarez, died after the SUV they were in plunged into the water and sunk about 25 feet. Family friend Juan Pablo Morales, 56, also died trapped inside the car.
"Where ever they are, I just want them to know that I love them very much, Alvarez TMs mother said.
Authorities are gathering surveillance video from surrounding businesses at the Shrimp Basin to determine why and how the car ended up in the water.
Jessica Alvarez, Edith TMs sister, said her niece and only survivor in the accident, 14-year-old Debbie Alvarez, was behind the wheel.
"She was going to park, but instead of pressing the brake, she stepped on the gas pedal, Jessica said. I'm not sure what they were thinking. She doesn't know how to drive; it was her first time behind the wheel."
Jessica said her sister, nieces and nephews went out to the Shrimp Basin where Morales was a captain on a boat. He wanted to show the family his boat, before leaving for the start of shrimping season Monday.
Debbie wanted to learn how to drive during the outing, Jessica said, and told the family she insisted her mother let her get behind the wheel.
"She tells us her mom did not want her to drive, she was even telling (Morales) that she didn't want her behind the wheel because she's too young, Jessica said. But they finally convinced her and then this happened."
Friends visited the Alvarez's home Friday to offer support, but Edith's mother said right now she doesn't understand why she lost four of her loved ones all at once, and doesn't know how she'll gather the strength to go on.
"My daughter was such a nice person, she was always happy and loved to go to Zumba classes - and my grandchildren, well what can I say."
The Alvarez family is in great need for help with funeral expenses to bury their four loved ones. If you would like to help with a donation call Jessica Alvarez at 956-312-1604 or drop off your donation at the Alvarez TMs home at 1850 N. Indiana Ave. in Brownsville, Texas.