Funeral held for Maleena Valdez, girl killed in day care crash

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4-year-old car crash victim Maleena Valdez. Courtesy of her family.

On Thursday, Maleena Valdez’s family and friends said goodbye to the 4-year-old killed in a crash as she played in her day care’s playground.

Those who spoke with WINK News estimated there were well over 100 people who came to pay their respects and show their support to the family and as we heard from some family members, it certainly meant a lot.

The reality of this little girl’s sudden passing setting in at this funeral service.

“It was very tough, you know it was very hard for us as parents and grandparents and great-grandparents seeing, you know, the people, seeing the crowd, seeing the baby laying down in her little casket,” said family member Norma Gaitan.

For loved ones, the only bright spot on this dark day is seeing the love from this community. So many people were making sure the family knows they are not alone.

“It made me happy that everybody was showing their support for her tonight. And also sad because we had to go over there and see Maleena in her little casket there, you know. Lifeless, you know,” said Norma Gaitan.

Maleena’s obituary says family and friends remember her as a funny and loving little girl. Someone who was smart, ambitious, and ready for anything.

“I would like to thank everybody. Everybody for their support, for coming out, and supporting savannah, the family, you know, for their prayers and thoughts. And may God bless each and every one of them,” said Norma Gaitan.

There is a fundraiser planned for this Saturday that will help benefit Maleena’s family. It will be at Beck’s Trucking Good BBQ in Arcadia.

The driver in the crash, 18-year-old Kiara Morant, remains in DeSoto County Jail on a $200,000 bond. She faces two counts of driving without a license and causing injury or death.

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