The parents KPRC 2′s Deven Clarke spoke to were filled with pride when talking about their daughter.
Sadly, they’ll never get to see her walk down the aisle or become a parent herself, but they say one thing that can help them face the harsh reality of her death is closure.
”Everybody that met her knew she was a shining light,” said her father Jose Velez.
He and his wife Trula are proud to boast about their 19-year-old daughter, Iliana Velez.
”I knew my daughter was gifted from the time I gave birth to her because her IQ level in fourth grade was an eight-grade reading level,” Trula said.
Iliana grew up in the Katy area and was described as a self-taught musician and dancer.
The Velez family says Iliana had an outgoing, goofy personality you couldn’t help but love.
”We were very close. Our relationship was not a typical mother-daughter relationship,” Trula said. “We were best friends.”
Iliana’s chances at the bright future everyone expected were wiped out in the early morning hours of Jan. 3 while returning to her overnight job at Amazon from her lunch break.
Investigators say a commercial-style truck with a partially yellow cab, white box, and an unusual axel in the middle of the box, collided with Iliana’s vehicle.
Her parents say her vehicle rolled several times, and their oldest daughter was pronounced dead at the scene.
”I collapsed,” Trula said.
Investigators say video appears to show the truck circling back to the scene on I-35 in San Marcos but never stopping to help the Texas State freshman.
”Why didn’t you stop?” Trula said. “Maybe she’d still be here.”
With fond memories that keep playing in their heads, the devastated parents are desperate for closure.
”This person took everything from me. [They] took half of me. Now, I can only imagine what her future would be like,” Trula said.
Iliana was laid to rest this past Monday.
Her parents now have the painstaking task of picking out a headstone.
If you have any information about this incident, you’re asked to contact San Marcos police firstname.lastname@example.org.