The news that 14-year-old Martin Duque was among the 17 people killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre came from his older brother Miguel, who shared the tragic news on Instagram.
“Words can not describe my pain,” Miguel wrote in a post that showed the two smiling brothers clasping hands with another friend and posing for the camera. “I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place. Duques forever man I love you junior!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!”
Martin, a freshman, was remembered by his aunt Reyna Duque-Ortega as a football fan, a good student and a devout churchgoer.
In an interview with ABC13 Eyewitness News in Houston, Martin’s uncle Libni Ortega said he and his wife knew Martin was one of the students reported missing after the shooting. But the couple didn’t learn about the death of their nephew until they saw his photo during a TV news report on Thursday.
“We were already worried about him, but we never thought that he was killed,” Libni said. “We never thought that our family was going to be part of the news.”
Libni said his wife has been in touch with her sister — Martin’s mother — who is distraught and in a “very bad” condition. They are hoping to travel from Houston to South Florida to be with the family and attend Martin’s funeral.
According to the online news site Azteca Noticias, Duque was a native of Coyuca de Catalán, a town of 7,435 people in the state of Guerrero in southwest Mexico.
“Martin was a very fun, extroverted and, occasionally, really quiet,” his brother Miguel wrote in Spanish on a GoFundMe page to help the family’s expenses that has raised more than $27,000 in two days. “He was sweet, affectionate and loved by his entire family. But above all else, he was my little brother.”