“Greatest guy we knew,” “angel,” and “happy person” are just a few of the loving words friends and family are using to describe Peekskill High School 2011 graduate Santiago Mendia, as they mourn his death today.
Mendia’s parents dead in a Montrose pond after a 35-hour search Monday morning. Police believe Mendia accidentally stumbled into the heavily vegetated pond in the dark and got stuck.
The family set visitation hours to be held at Nardone Family Home Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. and a funeral to be held at Assumption Church Thursday at 10 a.m.
Friends have changed their Facebook profile photos to an image of a black ribbon with Mendia’s name written at the bottom. And an out-pour of love and support has been continuous on Facebook and twitter throughout the day.
Many left detailed, heartfelt messages in English and in Spanish that describe the 18-year-old as a talented, musical, happy and fun person.
Fabiola Guaman wrote on Facebook:
Santi, I'm gonna miss you so much, still can't believed that you are gone :'( its so hard to accepted that ! But you will always be in my corazon & mind. You left but your memories will always be present.<3I love you! You where such an amazing friend that I will never forget. We have so much memories together that I will always remember”
Others wrote on his wall to say they held a candle light vigil in his honor Monday night.
“Even thou your in a better place now; I can assure you that your spirit will always be with us,” wrote Facebook user Jennifer J. Cabrera.
“Its difficult to know the fact that God had to take one of the greatest guy that everyone knew.”
Friends who have not been in close contact with Mendia in a while wrote passionate messages describing memories of Mendia singing and making music.
Facebook user Erick David wrote:
“You were such a great singer and song writer so much creativity and I remember when we said we were gonna make it big and make love songs and sing to the ladies lml but I wish u were still with us and I love you santi and I wont forget you. R.I.P SANTI”
The Peekskill City School District is arranging to have grievance counselors available for any students or staff who would like someone to talk to about their loss.
“When a student passes away too early and tragically in this case, we all grieve with the parents and families,” said Peekskill Superintendent of Schools Jim Willis.
Visitation hours will be held at the on Wednesday, July 18 from 5 to 9 p.m. and a mass will be held at the on Thursday at 10 a.m.
If you have a memory of Mendia, please share in the comments here.