Vicente Cardenas’ parents had already purchased a birthday cake as they sent their son to camp last Friday with the excitement of a celebration ahead.
But in the most tragic of circumstances, .
Tuesday, he was buried with his favorite stuffed animal. He was five days short of his fifth birthday.
The Cardenas family is still in shock over the events of last week and how an energetic boy could lose his life, said Val Gurvits, Vicente’s uncle and the Cardenas family spokesman.
“It’s very difficult,” Gurvits told Patch. “Each conversation I have with any of them, it is hard for any of them not to cry. They keep coming back to the question ‘why?’”
To us, it is unimaginable that in a dangerous environment like a crowded swimming pool, it would be possible for this child to become unattended.”
The Cardenas family – with origins in Colombia – has lived in Glenview for many years and prior to that they lived in Skokie. Vicente had a 10-year-old sister and many half siblings as both parents were divorced and remarried.
Gurvits described Vicente as a very active child who was “very energetic and pleasant.” .
While the Cardenas family continues to gather information about the circumstances, they have been receiving support from many area residents and witnesses.
“There has been an outpouring of people expressing their condolences and people have been stepping forward and telling me what they saw,” Gurvits said. “People are expressing shock and outrage that people allowed this to happen.”
"I am so sorry for this boy who will not get to blow out the 5 little candles on his cake," shared one reader in the comments section on Patch. "My heart and prayers go out to Vincente and his family who are experiencing a kind of tragedy no one would ever wish upon even their worst enemy."