Friday, May 11, 2012 | 4:49 p.m.
Hundreds of mourners filled St. Christopher Catholic Church on Friday in North Las Vegas, singing softly as pallbearers made their way down the aisle with caskets containing a mother and daughter, victims of heinous, senseless violence.
As friends and family of 10-year-old Karla Martinez and her mother, 38-year-old Yadira Martinez, entered the church, they were given lavender and white ribbons bearing the pair’s birth and death years.
The mother and daughter were found dead inside their Las Vegas home April 16, after being bludgeoned by a hammer in an attack that left the husband and father, Arturo, severely beaten. The couple’s 4-year-old and 9-year-old sons were not physically harmed. Metro Police arrested Bryan Clay, 22, last month as the suspect in their deaths.
The mourners, a mixture of children and adults, at times held hands and wept during the 75-minute mass, which was performed mostly in Spanish. Some wore shirts in memory of Karla and Yadira; others wore bracelets with the victims’ names.
During a brief message in English, Father Ron Zanoni acknowledged the amplified pain of losing Karla and Yadira given the tragic circumstances. He called on the congregation to pray for a path leading to healing and peace.
“That is our prayer for all of us and all those that suffer the tragic effects of violence,” he said.
After the mass ended, relatives and friends paused in the church’s vestibule, smiling at the sight of photo collages of Karla and Yadira.
Photos of Karla showed her posing with freshly manicured nails and performing the splits on a pool table, grinning sweetly in both images. Her mother wore a similar broad smile in a photo taken at a restaurant. Another showed mother and daughter smiling for the camera in front of a pool.
Nearby, a wreath decorated with notes contained messages such as this one: “Yadi and Karla, my dear friends. I will miss you every day.”
Outside, mourners clutched white and lavender balloons as pallbearers loaded the caskets into two vehicles bound for the cemetery.
In the process, a few balloons drifted up and away in the sky.
The Martinez family continues to accept monetary donations to help Arturo and his surviving sons. Checks should be made out to “Construction Industry Workers Charitable Foundation,” and a memo line should say, “For the benefit of Arturo Martinez.”
Those checks or cash donations can be mailed to:
Bank of Nevada
2700 W. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Cash donations also will be accepted at:
IBEW Local 357
808 N. Lamb Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89110