It’s the call no mother ever wants to get. But while she was out of town early Saturday morning, Judith Leseberg answered it.
“I’m still in shock… just shock,” she said.
Over the phone, Judith was told her 14-year-old son Miguel Martinez had died in a bizarre accident, during a game of hide-and-seek.
Miguel had been staying the night with his best friend Jeremy, and around 3 a.m. on Saturday Jeremy’s family and Miguel went for a walk. That walk ended at the entrance to the Ranching Heritage Center, in the middle of the steer statues.
Miguel had been playing hide-and-seek, but then he took off running, and accidentally suffered a chest wound when he impaled himself on one of the statue’s horns.
“He just happened to trip over one of the lights. I guess he lost his balance and he went straight down on one of the horns,” Judith cried. “It’s hard for all of us. No mother expects this to happen to their child.”
Jeremy was with Miguel when it happened and rushed over to help his best friend.
“I just laid there beside him. I put my jacket over him and just held him tight and told him I loved him,” Jeremy said. “He was like a big brother to me.”
Moments later, Miguel passed away.
Now there are stones at the bottom of the statue saying “Rest in Peace” and “You will never be forgotten.”
“A couple of family members had a hard time with it.
“There was anger,” Judith said. “But they put their heads together and realized this is for their brother, and this is a time to hold on to each other.”
As the anger faded, family and friends came together for Miguel. They are planning several fundraisers over the next few days, raising money to help lay Miguel to rest.
“It’s a blessing to see everyone come out and help, especially for me. I know Miguel had a lot of friends who looked up to him,” Judith said. “As he came into this world I tried to give him the best I could as a mother of nine. Now I want him to have the best going out.”
Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo to the Miguel Martinez Memorial Fund.