San Diego

Roadside Vigil Honors Organ Donor Daughter Who Gave Life After Death

The Torres family gathered at Main and Date streets in Chula Vista Friday evening to remember their loved one, Copitsy Torres.

According to a report released by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, Copitsy Torres, 39, was walking at the intersection in the 3800-block of Main Street on Feb. 15 when she was hit by an oncoming car.

The driver stopped and called 911 but Torres was in bad shape. The ME's office said Copitsy Torres was rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center. She died after her family decided to take her off life support.

At Friday's emotional vigil, the family erected a cross covered in flowers and lit candles in Copitsy Torres’ memory. More than a dozen family members and friends held hands in one big circle and prayed out loud for her.

Torres’ mother, Maria Torres, shared memories of her daughter and how she wants her daughter to be remembered in the community. Maria spoke in Spanish and her friend, Starla Sales, translated.

“She knew how to love people,” Maria Torres said. “She loved to help people… She had a beautiful smile and the prettiest dimples; she was beautiful inside and outside.”

Copitsy Torres was an organ donor.

Maria Torres said her daughter expressed to her years ago that if anything were to ever happen to her, she would want her organs to provide a new opportunity for someone else. She said her daughter was not wealthy and did not have a lot to give, but in the end, she gave life.

"When you’re poor all you can give is help to another person; a rich person could give money. She gave everything she had. She didn’t have much, but she gave everything she had and that was her organs," explained her mother.

Four of Copitsy Torres' organs went on to other people, her family said.

Sales said she had been a close friend to Copitsy Torres for years.

“She was like a sister to me,” Sales said. “She just always tried to be there for everyone. No matter what she was going through.

She had a joyful heart and soul.”

Jasmine Silvas, 16, used to be Copitsy Torres’ neighbor in Chula Vista. She came to the vigil to pray alongside her family.

“Copitsy was my friend,” Silvas said. “She was my best friend. She was like a Tia (aunt) to me. She was like family to me. She has always cared for me. She gave me everything when she had nothing.”

Maria Torres told NBC 7 she has also lost her two other adult children recently.

Her son, Jesus Torres, 31, died about eight months ago after having surgery on his esophagus, and her younger daughter, Aries Mendez, 22, died in a car accident in 2014. About 30 years ago, her first-born, Gabriela Torres, died at 6 months old from a heart condition.

Copitsy Torres’ family prayed for their own support and comfort knowing she was at peace and with her siblings in Heaven.

The family is struggling to pay for funeral service expenses and are accepting donations through a GoFundMe account.

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