A Longmont community mourns the sudden death of a 6-year-old girl Tuesday from what could be an illness as common as the flu.
Police say Lluvia Espinoza Morales died from flu-like complications Monday morning, which if confirmed would make her the sixth child to die from the flu this year in Colorado.
Students learn lessons every day at Columbine Elementary in Longmont. But on Tuesday, they face a delicate lesson of life—and death.
“Anytime you lose a child it’s the most horrific thing that could happen,” says Jennifer Bowar, mother of a Columbine kindergartener.
Lluvia’s death forced emergency workers to wear head-to-toe protective gear, including breathing respirators, to investigate her home.
On Tuesday, friends of the little girl and her family stop by to add to a growing memorial.
“I can’t believe she died. She was always a nice little girl and always running around,” says a former neighbor, Elizabeth Gomez.
“I am sad for her mother, for her sisters. But for her, no, because I know she is a little girl and she is with God,” says neighbor Nohemi Barda.
“Her mom is still very sad, very, very sad,” says Lluvia’s uncle, Rigo Holguin of Lafayette. He is married to the sister of Lluvia’s father, Jose Luis Espinoza.
He says their family is still unsure why she died.
“We lost a little girl. We don’t want this to happen to any kid…There’s nothing we can do about it,” he says.
But they do know her loss leaves a big hole in their lives.
“She was a happy little girl, always active, always playing around, very nice with everybody, especially her sisters,” says Holguin.
Neighbors say the family hasn’t come home since Monday. But the gifts keep coming.
Some are heartfelt expressions of children making sense of a child suddenly gone.
One drawing shows Lluvia as an angel high above the clouds.
Lluvia means rain in Spanish. And her death certainly a deluge of pain and questions.
Lluvia’s father is in Mexico and won’t be able to come to the U.S. to see his daughter.
Holguin says he doesn’t know why.
Lluvia’s mother, Nancy Morales, is struggling financially to raise her three other daughters alone. So her family has set the Lluvia Espinoza Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo.
A statement released by Columbine Elementary says they are very saddened by Lluvia’s death. But say they were assured their students are not at risk.
The school also had additional counseling support Tuesday for students and teachers.
The Boulder County Coroner says it could be 6-8 weeks before they can confirm cause of death.