RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a local postal worker murdered last year is facing more hardship. His 12-year-old ended up in the ICU after a crash with a semi. Friends and family remember Jose “Pepe” Hernandez well.
“He just had this contagious laughter about him,” said Aleta Thacker, a family friend. “Everyone just knew he was there.”
He was murdered on his postal route near 98th and Tower last year. Hernandez was trying to break up a fight between a teenager and his mom when investigators say the boy pulled a gun and shot him.
A year and a half after his loss, his family is facing hardship once again. During a roadtrip up to Jemez last month, his widow and 12-year-old daughter were hit by a semi. Daughter Krisanne was closest to the impact.
“All of her organs internally were hurt and she has a broken rib, a broken arm, broken pelvis,” said Thacker. “I think their ultimate goal is for her to be able to walk again.”
After several surgeries and nearly a month in the ICU, she’s now awake and moved into a general pediatrics ward, but has a long way to recovery as she works through physical and speech therapy. Thacker says she knew she needed to help with medical bills and the therapy the family will need in the coming months.
“I felt like it was even Pepe saying, ‘take care of my family’ you know?” said Thacker. “I just felt like it was my duty to get this started, the GoFundMe.”
That GoFundMe has collected thousands of dollars and well-wishes. Thacker says it’s a miracle her friends survived the crash and will get to see how much people care about their recovery.
“Just to see this outpouring of love and compassion has been incredible,” said Thacker. “When she talked to the doctors, they said that they almost lost her and I definitely feel like there’s some guardian angels around them, if not Pepe.”
Before his death, Pepe grew a large collection of special edition collectibles, including the Avengers, Star Wars and other pop culture memorabilia. This weekend, friends are holding a sale of some of the collectibles with funds helping the family during their recovery.
People interested can go to 2017 Via Sonata Rd SE Rio Rancho, NM 87124. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 24.
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