BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A mariachi group played songs of mourning Monday as pallbearers brought the bodies of a family of four gunned down along the Florida Turnpike to a Brownsville cemetery Monday.
About 200 mourners stood under an overcast sky as the caskets for 28-year-old Jose Luis Escobedo, his wife, 25-year-old Yessica Guerrero Escobedo and their two toddler boys — were placed alongside one another.
Family members sobbed and held one another as last rites were said and the four were lowered into a single grave. Some mourners wore white T-shirts printed with family photos and the words "In Memory of the Escobedo Family."
Authorities have said the family died of multiple gunshot wounds and appeared to be lying down or kneeling when they were shot. The couple's vehicle was found abandoned 70 miles south of the murder scene in West Palm Beach.
So far there have been no arrests and a motive for the killings has not been revealed.
Brownsville police have been assisting Florida authorities, but Monday said they could not comment on the case.
The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported Saturday that police would watch the funeral in search of Jose Manuel Escobedo, the fugitive brother of Jose Luis. The paper said he was sentenced in 2003 to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, but he disappeared on his way to a work camp in Louisiana seven months ago.
A spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Houston declined to comment on a possible connection the brother's past and the killings.
Both parents graduated from high school in Brownsville, where they were sweethearts. They had moved to Florida just four months ago. Jose Luis did odd jobs and liked to fix up cars. Yessica worked at J.C. Penney's. Family members said they did not know much about the couple's life in Florida, only that they went there seeking a better life.
The family had been planning to return to Brownsville for Christmas.
At a chapel service inside the funeral home, Deacon Roberto Cano of Christ the King Catholic Church remembered marrying the couple in December of 2002.
Behind Cano was a large wedding photo of the two. A wall in the back of the chapel held several collages full of snapshots of the family.
"They were in love, they were very ready to begin married life, to begin a family," he said in Spanish. "It is a very fond day in my memory. ... Know that Jose Luis and Jessica are in the realm of God."