More than $8,500 has been raised via two GoFundMe campaigns for the family of Edwin Alexander Tejada-Delgado, who drowned in College Creek while swimming July 7.
Tejada-Delgado, 27, of James City County worked at Food for Thought on Richmond Road. He is survived by his parents and two young daughters.
The money raised will go toward funeral expenses, including costs to transport his body to his home country of El Salvador, as well as a fund to support his daughters.
Local restaurateur Juan Carrillo knew Tejada-Delgado through his brother, who works at one of Carrillo’s restaurants. Carrillo said the fundraiser has been a great thing for the community and is hopeful enough money will be raised to cover transportation costs.
“It’s kind of like a Latin mother’s last wish, ‘Bring my son back,’” Carrillo said. “That’s why they’re trying to collect money to send the body back.”
The cost to transport a body varies depending on the funeral home, said Joshua Slocum, executive director of Virginia Beach-based Funeral Consumers Alliance. He said he would “not be surprised” if the cost of the funeral, casket and airline ticket to El Salvador reached $5,000.
“When you get into shipping a whole body in a casket, that’s going to start your meter running,” Slocum said. “Each country has different regulations for what they require when a body is shipped into their borders and most are excessively complicated and add to the cost.”
Tejada-Delgado’s funeral mass was held July 14 at the St. Bede Campus Ministry at the College of William and Mary. Click here to donate to the family.