Family of student who died during 2016 field trip files amended lawsuit against Harlingen CISD, city of Edinburg

By: Stefany Rosales

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A family is still fighting to correct what they say is an injustice regarding the death of their son five years ago.

The parents of Gabriel Miranda, Jr. filed an amended lawsuit against the city of Edinburg and the Harlingen school district after their son died when he fell off a Harlingen CISD school bus during a field trip in November 2016.

Although suicide was listed as the official cause of death, the family of the then 13-year-old boy still insists he would not have taken his own life.

They claim officials with Harlingen CISD and the Edinburg Police Department covered up the truth behind their son’s death. They said they have new evidence in the case that will clear the record.

According to attorney Kenneth Perry, the new evidence includes audio recordings from the bus that indicate that Miranda Jr. was trying to close the back door of the bus – not jump out of it.

“The full record actually shows a number of affidavits where some of the students stated that they saw Gabriel trying to close the backdoor of the bus and sadly could not hold on and fell,” Perry said.

The family said Miranda Jr.’s death could have been prevented and they don’t believe he committed suicide.

“That would be something in his character to close [the door] and to save somebody else. It’s in his nature to always help. It’s always been in his nature to do what was right. I seriously think that he tried to close it,” said Maria Fuentes, Miranda Jr’s mother.

“I mean I saw him that morning; he was fine, he was in a good mood," Fuentes continued. "I was a stay-at-home mom with him, I saw him every day… My son had goals and he had potential. And he was planning things.”

Harlingen CISD responded to the lawsuit with the following statement:

“The District has been defending a lawsuit filed by the family of a student claiming wrongful death. The family has filed suit against multiple parties. The incident was immediately investigated by law enforcement, the student's death was ruled to be by suicide. Those investigations did not find any indications of wrongdoing on the part of the District. While the District acknowledge the parent's significant loss, we do not believe the district bears responsibility for this misfortune. Due to pending litigation, the District is unable to comment any further."

An official with the city of Edinburg said they were not aware of the lawsuit. In a statement, they said the case was previously dismissed by both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals in 2020.


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