By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
When Maria Yvarra thinks of her boyfriend, she doesn’t think of Agustin Montiel, the 12-year-old who died late last week in an irrigation canal accident.
She thinks of Augie, her boyfriend who joked when he said he was “too cool for school” and was serious when he said he loved her.
Many in Tucumcari had positive memories of Montiel, who celebrated his 12th birthday last Tuesday and had his life cut short when he and 15-year-old Gabriel Jones were sucked into an underground irrigation canal near Seventh Street and Charles Avenue on Thursday evening.
Gabriel was rescued later that night; Montiel’s body was found nearly 24 hours later in the canal by a dive team with the New Mexico State Police.
Family and friends have tried not to think of the last 24 hours of Agustin’s life, and focus on the positive influence he was in the 12 years that preceded.
“He was just a happy kid,” said Mark Alderete, Montiel’s godfather. “He loved everybody, and I think everybody loved him.”
The stories varied depending on who was asked, but they always came back to a few similar notions — he was a hopeful musician, a constant prankster and a giving person.
Family friend Fidelia Severance said she heard many stories of Montiel receiving a packed lunch, and he’d always check to see if he could share anything with his sister or friends.
“He shared whatever he had,” Severance said. “He always thought of somebody else. Anybody he met would not be the same after he met him.”
Friends and family members said he had aspirations of being a musician when he grew up. He was a fan of the rock groups Korn and Slipknot, and is featured in a Tucumcari Elementary School yearbook wearing one of his favorite black Slipknot T-shirts.
Severance said the family has received many visits from community members, from friends to classmates to teachers. Through their memories, and those of the families, she feels as if Augie is in some ways still alive.
“You really see a live boy coming through when you’re here and when you’re spending time with the family,” Severance said. “He comes from a big family and each one has so much richness in their memories of him.
“In 12 short years, he touched a lot of lives.”