HESPERIA — A tragic accident that claimed a young Hesperia mother and one of her three sons, and left another still missing, has left family members "devastated" and "heartbroken," they told the Daily Press on Friday.
“It's one of those things where you feel like you're telling somebody else's story,” said Natalia Garcia, 19, of Pomona. “You're telling friends and family who are calling what happened and then you sit back and think about how your 1-year-old nephew is freezing.”
As San Bernardino County Sheriff's’ dive team members continued their search for 2-year-old Noah Abbott until about 2 p.m. Friday, loved ones paid their respects. Noah's mother, Christina Eileen Estrada, 31, of Hesperia, and his brother Jeremiah Robert Abbott, 3, were killed when their red Volkswagen convertible crashed through a fence on Main Street and into the California Aqueduct on Thursday night.
Candles of all sizes, stuffed animals and bouquet of flowers were placed along the fence where the crash occurred. While some formed a prayer circle as the dive team searched for Noah’s body, others held each other in a long embrace as they grieved.
Garcia, who is a cousin of the family, told the Daily Press authorities told the family the Volkswagen was traveling west on Main Street but it's still unknown what caused it to crash into the aqueduct. The investigation continues.
She also described Estrada as a mother who "loved her kids with all her heart" and the three children as "loving boys who loved their momma and loved their daddy."
“When they told us they couldn’t resume the search and we had to wait until morning it was hard,” Garcia said. “There was just nothing we could do and we had to let the professionals do their job.”
Noah’s great-grandmother of Apple Valley, who declined to give her name, said she received a call from Noah’s father, Kevin Abbott, around 10 p.m. Friday night and said she “was heartbroken to hear the news.”
“My husband and I will stick around here as long as we can and will just be thankful once they recover Noah's body,” she said. “It's really heartbreaking to know that he hasn't been recovered.”
San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner officials said Estrada was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:47 p.m. after emergency personnel pulled her from the icy water.
Emergency personnel also pulled Jeremiah from the water and transported him to Desert Valley Hospital. He was pronounced dead in the emergency department at 10:32 p.m., authorities said.
Noah’s other brother, Elijah Estrada, 10, was taken to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he is continuing to recover. Witnesses at the scene said they helped rescue the boy after he was ejected from the Volkswagen.
Elijah was reported to be "doing well," according to his uncle, Steven Abbott.
"We're just glad he's doing good and appears to be in good health," Abbott told the Daily Press.
Abbott said the family was "devastated" and "heartbroken," but planned to stay at the aqueduct until Noah was found.
"Kevin's having a hard time right now," Garcia said. "He's been put in a position where he's now a single father, so we're looking for any support we can get."
Garcia said the family has created two GoFundMe accounts, one by herself and one by Abbott, to help the father, Kevin Abbott, who is also an Iraq War veteran.
"We're not asking for money, we're asking for support, whatever that may be,” Steven Abbott said. “Even if it's a prayer, we'll take that all day."
City Editor Kevin Trudgeon contributed to this story.
Jose Quintero may be reached at 760-955-5332 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_JoseQ.
Monica Solano can be reached at MSolano@VVDailyPress.com or at 760-951-6231. Follow her on Twitter@DP_MonicaInes