GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The family that lost three loved ones in a car accident said words can't express their gratitude to those who have reached out to them in their time of sorrow. On Tuesday, a funeral service was held for Benito Matute and his teenage daughters, Julisa and Rosalinda.
Another daughter said for the family, the grief is overwhelming. The news was so shocking that Adriana Matute didn't believe it was real at first.
On Feb. 10, she learned her father and her youngest sister, 13-year-old Rosalinda, had been killed in a car wreck in Gulfport and that her 16-year-old sister, Julisa, was in the hospital.
"I had that hope that I know that my dad and my baby sister passed, but she's still here. She's going to help me through this," said Adriana. "Then, I come and they're like, 'She's in ICU, and we don't think she's going to make it.'"
Julisa didn't make it. She died in the hospital.
As friends and family gathered at St. James Catholic Church in Gulfport to say goodbye, Adriana drew comfort knowing Julisa's organs had been donated.
"My baby sister always believed in reincarnation. So, my way of going through with her beliefs is you are being reincarnated almost, because you are giving your organs to other people," said Adriana. "It's a blessing, because even though God took three lives. It's heartbreaking with the whole situation, but at the same time, it's like she was able to do one more good thing before she was gone. She saved lives."
The Matutes said while their lives are forever changed, they are thankful for all the community support.
"Like, we appreciate it. Just like words can't describe how horrible this is, words can't describe amazing it is. How many people have came through to help us," said Adriana. "People that didn't know us or hadn't talked to us in 10 years. It's overwhelming in a good way and a bad way."
Adriana said her dad was a working man who had been with the same company for decades.
"He was extremely goofy. He was super generous," said Adriana. "He worked his entire life. He worked for the same company for 27 years. He was a wonderful dad. No matter how many reckless things we did, he was always there."
Adriana said Rosalinda attended school in New Orleans.
"She loved going out with her friends. She loved gossiping. That was one of the biggest things, and at her age, it's understandable," said Adriana. "She was really loving. I remember one time she was like, 'Did you know I kept all your secrets,' because I would tell her things. Me and my other sisters, we would snitch on each other and things like that. She was very trustworthy.
Adriana said she and Julisa were the closest of all the siblings.
"She was like my daughter. She was my mini me. My twin. She loved going out. She loved focusing in school. Being with her friends," said Adriana. "She was funny. She was caring. She was strong. I cannot remember, but maybe once that you would never see her cry. Even when we were younger, my mom would spank her, and she would not shed a tear. She was so strong and even in her time of passing she held on. She held on. She was just amazing."
Benito leaves behind three other children, including a 1-year-old. The family plans to leave Wednesday for Texas where Benito and his daughters will be laid to rest.