BELMAR, NJ — The second girl who was pulled from the ocean off the Belmar beach of June 15 has died.
Emily Gonzalez Perez, 12, was on life support for four days before succumbing on June 19 to injuries suffered during the tragic swimming incident, which also claimed the life of her 13-year-old cousin, Mitzi Hernandez-Nicolas. Both girls were students at Belmar Elementary School.
Over the weekend, the borough established a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $45,000 help the families of both girls. The Belmar Angels online fund was started after Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty announced that $20,000 from the Mayor’s Ball, to be held Friday, June 23, will be set aside as well for the families.
“With sad hearts we say goodbye to our second Belmar Angel who passed away tonight,” read a message on the GoFundMe page. “There are no words to express our sorrow and sympathy for both of these families.”
Meanwhile, private funeral services for Hernandez-Nicolas are being arranged by the Oceanside Memorial Home. While a public memorial will be held at a later date, flowers or a memorial gift to her family can be sent through the Lake Como-based funeral home’s website.
The girls were swimming unsupervised on June 15 on the Belmar beach in the vicinity of Ninth and 10th Avenues, when an emergency call was received by the Belmar Police Department at 6:19 p.m., for “a distressed person in the ocean,” according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
A Belmar patrolman and a member of the water rescue team arrived on the scene at 10th and Ocean Avenues, and swam out to rescue Gonzalez Perez who was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC), Neptune.
At about 6:54 p.m., as a search of the area was being conducted, Hernandez-Nicolas was located unconscious in the ocean by several nearby beach-goers. CPR was administered until first aid arrived and took the victim to JSUMC, where she was pronounced dead, according to the prosecutor’s office statement.
While there were no lifeguards at the time of the incident, weekly lifeguard hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. were scheduled to start on June 19 — the Monday after the last day of school. Weekend hours are from 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. have been in effect since Memorial Day.