The 11-year-old sixth-grader had arrived in the USA only two years ago and lived in a mobile home with his family.
The snowstorm in Texas didn't just cause blackouts but also the loss of lives. Among those who couldn't fight the brutal cold was a young boy in Conroe. The 11-year-old boy was excited to see snow for the first time since arriving in the USA two years ago and spent the day outside. However, by the next morning tragedy had struck the home of Maria Elisa Pineda, 34, the mother of the boy.
Maria lived in a mobile home in Conroe along with her husband, Manuel Moreno, 38, and three kids, including Cristian Pavon Pineda. Cristian's biological father lived in Honduras, and the boy had also arrived in Texas only a couple of years ago. He studied at Bozman Intermediate, reports Houston Chronicle.
On February 14, the yard of Cristian's home in Conroe was covered with snow and the child decided to play outside while wearing a hoodie. His mom photographed him and took videos of him while he was enjoying himself.
It was his "first time (seeing snow). That’s why he was excited outside," said Maria on February 18. "Everything was well. He was happy that day. He was not at all sick," she added.
The boy was outside for only half an hour when his mom made him go back inside after his gloves got soaked. She tucked him in at 11 pm in a bed he shared with his 3-year-old step-brother in their mobile home, which didn't have heat since the power loss on the morning of February 15. Temperatures fell that night and by the next morning, when he didn't wake up his mom wasn't immediately worried. He had the habit of sleeping in, Maria told Univision.
Manuel's sister Jaliza Yera said that her brother woke up in the middle of the night to check up on the kids. "He made sure they were okay. They were still breathing. He covered them up, patted them, and went back to sleep," Jaliza told ABC 13.
However, the child didn't wake up even by 2 p.m. "He was already dead," said the regretful mother to the Houston Chronicle. She added that he was not a sickly child and made no complaints the previous night. The 3-year-old boy and the toddler were fine.
When Maria and Manuel discovered what had happened to Cristian, they called 911, the boy’s family said. The dispatcher put them on hold trying to find someone who spoke Spanish. Conroe Police Department investigators visited their home and stayed until 8 p.m. to question them. Maria and Manuel's blood was extracted to be screened for drug use as a standard part of the investigation.
"We still did CPR until the fire department came and they took over and within a minute they told us it was too late," Jaliza told ABC 13.
An autopsy was performed on Thursday, said Conroe PD spokesman Sgt. Jeff Smith to Houston Chronicle. However, it will take several weeks before the cause of death is determined, he said. "By all other means, he was a normal, healthy child," Smith said.
Cristian's mother said that he liked living in Conroe and hoped to earn enough money to make a home in their country, Honduras, for her one day. "But it was not to be. Those wishes were not fulfilled," she added.
His family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses of sending his body back to Honduras, where Cristian's grandparents and father can see him one last time before he is buried.