A public memorial is planned Saturday in Española for 5-year-old Renezmae Calzada, whose body was recovered last week from the Rio Grande, her family announced Tuesday.
Renezmae was last seen around 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 in the front yard of a family member’s home in Española. Following an intense search by law enforcement and community members, her body was found in the river Sept. 11.
“We are extremely thankful to all of those that took the time to help search for Mae Mae,” the girl’s mother, Victoria Maestas, and Jon Calzada said in a statement posted on Facebook. They also thanked those who donated food, water and money to the search effort.
“We believe that Northern New Mexico and surrounding communities should celebrate Mae Mae’s life with us,” Maestas and Calzada wrote.
A memorial Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, 908 Calle Rosario, followed by a catered “thank-you reception” for the community and law enforcement at the Santa Claran Hotel Casino’s event center.
The family added: “This tragedy is heartbreaking for all of us, but especially for us and our family. Mae Mae was the sweetest baby girl that brought sunshine to everyone that crossed her path. She loved music, enjoyed dancing, and lived life to the fullest. She could always be found with her favorite toy, Mr. Bear. She will be missed by everyone.”
The family members said they are planning a private funeral for Renezmae with traditional Native American practices.
Law enforcement officials said they still have no suspects in the girl’s death. The FBI, which is leading the investigation, has pledged to “pursue every lead and use all our resources to find out what happened to Renezmae.”
The FBI said its jurisdiction is based on Renezmae’s affiliation with Santa Clara Pueblo, the place where she went missing and any alleged crimes that might have occurred in connection with her disappearance and death, which appeared to be within the pueblo’s boundaries.
Maestas, according to her Facebook page, is from the pueblo, located just south of Española along the Rio Grande.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, which is handling media inquiries, said Tuesday there were no updates in the case.
Maestas’ former boyfriend, with whom she had separated a few months ago, was arrested on the night of Sept. 8 on outstanding warrants in an unrelated case and remains in custody.