Slain Grand Junction mother and daughter to be buried together |

Slain Grand Junction mother and daughter to be buried together

Marija B. Vader
Grand Junction Free Press
Glenwood Springs, Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION – Murder victims Anna Maria Macias and her infant child, Maria Elena Macias, will be buried together in the same casket.

She’d want it that way, according to family.

Macias’ nephew Gabriel Trujillo said Macias and her daughter will be buried in Orchard Mesa Cemetery. The family is still making arrangements.

Macias, 23, was shot outside the Garden Village Apartments, 26th Street and Belford Avenue, late Sunday night. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time of the shooting, and her baby was delivered via Caesarian. Macias died early Monday; Maria Macias died Tuesday.

Before they started to make burial arrangements, the family wanted to wait and see if the baby would live. Late Tuesday night, Macias’ family took Maria off life support.

Thursday, the Mesa County Coroner’s Office determined Maria died as a direct consequence of her mother’s gunshot; she experienced decreased oxygen, said Rob Kurtzman, forensic pathologist.

Like her mother’s death, the baby’s death has been ruled a homicide.

Macias’ boyfriend and Maria’s father, Lonnie Ray Herrera, 39, is being held in Mesa County Jail on $2 million bond, suspected of murder.

Thursday, family members worked hard to keep up with the steady flow of cars that came through an impromptu fundraiser car wash at Grease Monkey, 2857 North Ave.

The idea came from Macias’ cousin Cruz Galindo, said Nikita Galindo, who worked diligently Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to scrub and rinse cars. They’d raised about $4,000 before Thursday.

The car wash may continue today, depending on the demand, said Nikita Galindo.

Early Thursday morning, there were more cars than volunteers. Once that information got out, lots of volunteers came down to help and clean cars began cruising from the lot, said Cruz Galindo.

Volunteers also came from the Canyon View Vineyard Church, which bought lunch for everybody.

Family friend Joe Burchim said expenses go beyond the funeral. Macias has four other children: Memo, who lives with his father, and the remaining three, Anjelica, Isaiah and Xavier, are now with Macias’ mother, Burchim said.

“There doesn’t have to be a deadline for donations” because expenses for the children will continue, Burchim said.

A woman who visited the car wash Wednesday bought the kids scooters and other items, Burchim said.

The family continues to hold candlelight vigils every night at the murder site and have donation jars there as well.

At the murder site, an improvised memorial of silk and fresh flowers, a poem, candles, stuffed animals, a cross with a rosary and a baby mobile marked the area near where Macias was shot.

There, Trujillo and Burchim remembered her with anger, with sadness and with some smiles.

“We were always picking on her and raising hell,” said Trujillo.

Burchim recalled a time when a man threatened to hurt him, and she warned him.

“She was always yelling our names,” Burchim said.

“Anna was a free spirit, a lover, not a fighter,” said Cruz Galindo, who burst out laughing at a memory involving Macias’ first experience driving a standard transmission.

She got in the car, turned on the key and ran straight into the house, through the front window.

Then, to escape the teasing and yelling, she got out of the car, went into the house and began to fry herself an egg, Cruz Galindo said.

“That was Anna,” she said, smiling.

Burchim and Trujillo expressed anger that the alleged murderer was out of jail when he should have been in jail, Burchim said.

“The fact that this guy was out in the first place … this guy should have never been on the street,” Burchim said.

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