One of my children went all the way through school with a guy named Zobek Zepeda. I have fond memories of little Zobek with his great big smile running around and playing at some of the kindergarten and elementary school parties I used to help with years ago. Sadly, as happens way too often around here, Zobek fell in with a bad crowd later on, and although I saw him around every once and a while, our families drifted apart.
I was seriously shocked to suddenly see an obituary for him last winter saying he had died on February 25, 2009 at the age of only 21, and I immediately contacted my child that had been his classmate to see if they knew what happened. They were as shocked as I was, so they started asking around and checking various social networking sites from their high school; at the same time, my other kids also started asking around among their friends. Although we can usually get a pretty good idea of what happened by checking the local grapevine like this, in Zobek's case it became very apparent that NO ONE was talking about whatever had happened to him, which we thought was very strange. We all eventually decided Zobek must either have succumbed to an illness the family did not want to publicize or had died of a drug overdose or suicide. In any case, we were upset about the loss.
Then on August 26, 2009, Zobek's family published two ads in the local newspaper on the occasion of what would have been his birthday. One of these contained the statement, "We want to wish you a Happy 22nd Birthday even though you were robbed of it,..." The other ad said in part, "...your life was stolen from you. And I know you fought 'til your last breath," and, "The only thing that came out good of your short time was you baby boy, lil Z-man. We know he's out there suffering, but I know one day we will be reunited with him (lil Z-man)."
We asked around again after seeing this, but even our Hispanic friends claimed not to know anything, which we frankly didn't believe, and my child that had been Zobek's classmate was particularly upset that none of their class members would talk about his death. Since we had never seen anything in the newspapers or on television other than the obit. and ads, I emailed the local reporter for the San Antonio paper and asked him if he had any information about either Zobek's death or that of another young man from our community (age 13) that also wasn't being discussed much. The reporter emailed back that he'd try to find out, and he did email me back a small amount of information on the other death (that I didn't necessarily believe, although I don't blame the reporter for this--I think he might have been told things that may not have been true). However, I never got any response to my request for information on Zobek, so I guess we'll have to continue to wonder.
I will always remember Zobek as he was when I knew him well, when he was younger. I'd like his family to know that he managed to touch a lot of people during his life that they may not have realized and that I'd love to have a photograph from them of Zobek to post here in his memory (maybe one from kindergarten??).
Just today another of my kids came home from school at lunchtime and said the younger brother of one of their classmates had just been found in the parking lot at school lying on the ground having seizures from some sort of a head injury. We are trying to get more information about this and are concerned because we never heard the medical helicopter come in as normally happens for injuries like this. We also can't figure out why this boy wasn't in class at the time he was found.
These are not the only suspicious deaths among young people around here by any means, and there will be more if high-level law enforcement doesn't act soon.