The 39-year-old and his wife Marissa came together dressed in black at the Sinatra Memorial Home in Yonkers to pay tribute to their later children, commemorating their tragic deaths. Rodriguez, an Iraq war veteran, was caught the other day after he accidentally left his twin one-year-olds Luna and Phoenix inside his broiling car for eight hours while he worked well, believing he’d dropped them off at day treatment.
He wept outside a Bronx courthouse on Thursday morning when a grand jury declined to proceed on charges of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter until in the future. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at the hearing and his attorney urged the courtroom drop the counts against him, citing the twins’ death to be the result of a ‘tragic mistake’.
The distraught few arrived collectively on Friday, flanked by a solemn procession of family members and friends, all clutching photos of the twins and bouquets of blooms as they went to the open casket service. Rodriguez greeted guests at the door, issuing them all a firm hug with his head bowed as they proceeded through to see the children – placed in all-white caskets, included in a white veil – one final time.
Oh, my god. I really like them a lot. It can’t be believed by me,’ Rodriguez told one guest as he burst into tears in the lobby, the NY Post reported. His friend hugged him and cried, replying: ‘My heart is broken! The receptacles proved to be big for the small children too. Small white pillows were placed in each coffin to fill the gaps, with one placed at the bottom of every baby’s feet; the other under their minds.
Luna was dressed in an angelic white laced dress with a ribbon headband; Phoenix wore a white tuxedo, with pristine white trainers. Two large hearts crafted from red and blue roses and surrounded by white ones accompanied each coffin. There was a large flower arrangement depicting a white moon also, in memory of Luna, whose name means ‘moon’ in Spanish. A large yellow sunlight with a Phoenix in the center stood in honor of her brother. For some mourners the emotional gravitas of the occasion became too much to handle.
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Many turned away at the door, with their guttural cries audible from the hallway. Those made up enough to mix the threshold knelt at the foot of both coffins to say their final goodbyes, looking at the newborns briefly prior to making the sign of the combination. Rodriguez, a social worker, left his New City house on June 26 with his three youngest children in the back of his car.
He slipped his 4-year-old boy at day care and returned in the car to operate a vehicle the twins, Phoenix, and Luna Rodriguez, to a different day care. However, Rodriguez seemingly forgot, and instead drove to his job at a veteran’s hospital in the Bronx, parking it in direct sunlight at 8am and heading inside. Temperatures outside that day were recorded as achieving 85 levels.