News of Stanwood family’s deaths shocks community

A funeral for the four members of a Stanwood family who died Sunday in a collision in Eastern Washington is scheduled for Wednesday in Monroe.

Gabriel Ochoa, 35, his wife, Dioselina Buenrostro, 33, and daughters, Sandra Ochoa, 9, and Yesenia “Jessie” Ochoa, 4, were killed when a vehicle pulled in front of their car at an intersection near George, according to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The family’s Chevy Tahoe collided with the other car, which was driven by a 27-year-old Edmonds woman. The Tahoe struck a nearby canal bridge guardrail, landed in an irrigation canal and sank. The family was unable to escape and drowned, according to a coroner’s report.

The Grant County prosecutor is reviewing the case.

Ochoa, Buenrostro and their children were on their way to visit relatives in Quincy.

The family’s deaths have deeply affected two communities: Stanwood, where they lived, and Monroe, where they were members of the St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church.

“It’s a horrible story; we’re all hurt,” said Tania Gutierrez, the church’s pastoral assistant for the Hispanic community.

The family’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the church. A Rosary service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Ochoa and Buenrostro were married at the church three years ago, said Father Phillip Bloom, the church’s pastor. Their oldest daughter, Sandra, celebrated her First Communion at the church.

“It’s such a horrendous tragedy,” Bloom said. At choir practice Wednesday evening “everybody was stunned by the news,” he said.

Several years ago, the family lost a son to a car accident, Bloom said, although he couldn’t recall the details.

“It leaves you with that question: Why this family? … Why do some people get singled out for such tremendous tragedies?”

The couple’s parents live in Mexico, and family members are trying to get them visas so they can come to Monroe for the funeral, Bloom said.

Church members are praying for the family at daily Mass and will do so again during weekend Masses, he said.

Krista Cairus, who worked with Gabriel Ochoa for seven years at Stangeland Farms just east of Stanwood, said she remembers him as someone who was always smiling and had a good sense of humor.

“Family was very important to him,” she said.

Cairus and other family members are working with staff at Twin City Elementary School to organize a fundraiser to help pay for the family’s funeral expenses. Sandra Ochoa was a student at the elementary school.

The fundraiser is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday evening at Amigos Family Mexican Restaurant in Stanwood.

Donations also can be made at any Whidbey Island Bank branch, she said.

“I think everybody has been impacted by this accident and feels a need to want to help the family as much as they can,” Cairus said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

Services, fundraiser

The funeral for the Gabriel Ochoa, Dioselina Buenrostro and their two daughters is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Monroe’s St. Mary of the Valley Catholic Church, 601 W. Columbia St.

A fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Amigos Family Mexican Restaurant, 6996 265th St. NW in Stanwood. Donations may also be made in the name of the Ochoa family at any branch of the Whidbey Island Bank or to the Ochoa fund at the Stanwood Wells Fargo Bank.

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