CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The family of the 11-year-old killed in a theme park accident on Fourth of July Weekend is thankful they did not have to bury two children.
11-year-old Michael Jaramillo died days after he was trapped underwater on Adventureland’s Raging River ride. His 16-year-old brother David was trapped alongside him and was rushed to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. He was released from the hospital a month to the day after the accident.
The Jaramillo family recounted their experience after David’s recovery, including the struggles of being without Michael.
“On the inside I’m crying, asking for help because I’m so sad,” said mother Sabrina Jaramillo. “When I’m talking his poster down, I’m crying, because it feels like I’m packing my son away.”
Sabrina Jaramillo said she is using prayer to process the pain and is comforted by thoughts of Michael in heaven.
“Jesus showed me him up there playing with all of the kids we had…we had a lot of miscarriages,” Sabrina said. “I see him up there playing with all of the kids. He’s laughing and playing, but again I’m sad, because I still want him here.”
David said he also has visions of his younger brother.
“He was calling out to me,” David recalled. “I couldn’t talk because I had a tube in my throat, but he said my name twice.”
David is now well enough to speak and attend church with the family again, but Sabrina said it was hard to watch him in pain during his recovery.
“Every time I saw him going through his emotions not knowing where he was, I tried to hold mine in,” Sabrina said.
The Jaramillos have another son who escaped from the raft with minor injuries.