SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Authorities identified the body of a Los Fresnos teenager who drowned at South Padre Island this week — and his family is asking for the public’s help to pay for his funeral.
The body of Alberto Christian Buitureira, 17, of Los Fresnos, was recovered Thursday after a 24-hour search about eight miles north of Beach Access 5, sources said.
Cameron County Park Rangers chief Horacio Zamora confirmed to ValleyCentral the identity of the teen.
On Friday, Butitureira’s family started an online fundraiser to pay for the teen’s funeral expenses.
The teen’s mother Cristina Garcia posted on gofundme.com that her only son “was taken from me so soon and unexpected. This money is for his funeral expenses.” The fund had exceeded the family’s goal of $3,000, as of 3:23 p.m. Friday, having collected $5,462 from 133 donations.
Justice of the Peace Benito “Bo” Ochoa IV, said the teen lived in Los Fresnos and had family there and in Port Isabel. Ochoa said an autopsy has been ordered for the 17-year-old.
The family of the teen, from Los Fresnos and Port Isabel, was notified, sources confirmed.
“It’s a tragedy,” Ochoa said. “I would like people to be a little more aware of our currents and how to educate themselves, if they are going to go swimming, to educate themselves on how to swim and how to read the currents and how to work with the current instead of working against it to avoid things of this nature.”
The Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District released the following statement in reference to the teen’s death:
Our hearts are heavy today following the loss of a Los Fresnos High School senior who died in a drowning accident that occurred on Wednesday on South Padre Island. District Administration, staff, and the Los Fresnos CISD Board of Trustees extend their deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to the family and friends of the student.
Los Fresnos CISD is currently providing on-campus counseling services for our students and staff at Los Fresnos High School and will continue to do so as needed. We kindly ask that you keep our school community in your thoughts as we process this tragic loss.Los Fresnos CISD
At 4:12 p.m. Wednesday, Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi command center received word from Coast Guard Station South Padre Island stating they received a 911 call about a missing swimmer last seen in the water near Beach Access 5.
The 17-year-old was described as a 5-foot, 10-inch tall, approximately 140-pound Latino male last seen wearing black shorts and glasses.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi and a Station South Padre Island 33-foot Special Purpose Craft–Law Enforcement boat crew were sent to search for the missing swimmer.
The South Padre Island Fire Department and Cameron County Park Rangers were also helping with the search efforts.