The chance for local residents to pay last respects passed Sunday as the Alameda County Sheriff's Office plans to exhume her from a grave at Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward this week.
An impromptu memorial for Nungaray announced Sunday in The Daily Review and on Spanish-language radio Saturday, hastily organized by a local business owner, was attended mostly by news media. Eddie Carrasco, who owns a hair salon in the Fairview section of Hayward and whose wife is buried near Nungaray, said he advertised the event so Mexicans could come to show they care. "This I took onto myself for the reason that she is Mexican and I am also Mexican," he said. "I was born here but I'm Mexican. I didn't see any Mexican people doing something for her."
Two news vans and a print reporter showed up for the event but not many others, except for curious onlookers who were at the cemetery paying respects to loved ones. A priest who was supposed to attend the ceremony fell sick and couldn't make it, Carrasco said.
One local couple active in the case took exception to Carrasco's efforts, however. Dave and Pat Woolworth have raised more than $10,000 toward the efforts to reunite Nungaray with her family. They were at the cemetery Sunday.
"Where has he been for the last three years?" Pat Woolworth said.
The Woolworths believe the event was more of a failed publicity stunt than a memorial for the dead girl.
"I appreciate what he did, but on the other side of it, don't show your ignorance all at once," Dave Woolworth said. "Where has someone been for the last 31/2years plus not to realize that this child has been here and what happened."
Carrasco claimed he was not aware of the funeral or the many efforts that have been made in the past to identify Nungaray.
The Lone Tree Cemetery headstone, which was recently updated to include her name, identified her before as an "Unknown child of God."
Reach Alejandro Alfonso at (510) 293-2469 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.