Missing volunteer pulled from Cypress Creek
Dad said he'd asked his son not to try and rescue people in the storm, but he wanted to help people
NEARLY FOUR DAYS after Harvey's record flooding slammed a rescue boat into an Interstate 45 frontage road bridge, family members of the final, missing volunteer pulled Alinso Guillen's body from Cypress Creek in Spring.
Guillen, a 31-year-old disc jockey from Lufkin, disappeared on Wednesday around midnight along with two friends after their boat hit the bridge over the creek and capsized. One of them was rescued after clinging to a tree in the rushing water, but days later, after the rains let up and the creek level receded, Guillen and Tomas Carreon Jr. were still missing.
Searchers spotted Carreon's body floating down the wide, swift-moving creek on Friday around 1 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, Guillen's body floated past a sandy berm where family members had been keeping watch for days, staring out at the murky water. A relative dove in and pulled him to the shoulder of the creek until they were able to bring a boat over to get him onto shore.
Guillen's father, Jesus Guillen, said he'd asked his son not to try and rescue people in the storm, but he insisted, saying he wanted to help people. He cried and prayed on Sunday afternoon as they pulled his son's body from the water.
"Thank you, God," he said, "for the time I had with him."
The recovery of his body brings the number of people who have died or are feared dead from Harvey to nearly 60, and officials warn that more could be found.
Guillen was born in Piedras Negras, Mexico and moved to Lufkin as a teenager. After Hurricane Harvey, he and his friends headed south toward Houston, towing a borrowed boat. They were near Interstate 45 and Beltway 8, trying to reach an apartment complex, when they hit the bridge, relatives said.
Guillen was a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which temporarily lifted the threat of deportation for immigrants brought to the U.S. before they were 16, family members said. His father is a lawful permanent, but his mother is still in the application process for legal status.
Reached at her home in Piedras Negras, Mexico, across the border from Eagle Pass, Rita Ruiz de Guillen, 62, said she is heartbroken. "I've lost a great son, you have no idea," she said, weeping softly. "I'm asking God to give me strength."
She said she hoped U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials would take pity and grant her a humanitarian visa so that she could come to Houston and bury her son, but she was turned back at the border.
"When we are with God, there are no borders," she said. "Man made borders on this earth."
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