A heartbreaking photo shows the parents whose one-year-old twins died after their father accidentally left them in a hot car to celebrate the baby's birthday earlier this month.
Juan and Marissa Rodriguez each held one of the twins as they posed for the photo along with their three other children, ages four, 12 and 16.
All seven family members wear shirts with a circus theme and a giant grin during the event that one of their last would be as a complete family.
Three weeks after the twins Luna and Phoenix became one, they were found dead Friday in the family's car after Juan had forgotten to drop them off at daycare before going to an eight-hour veteran hospital at The Bronx.
The photo is on a GoFundMe Campaign page that raised more than $ 44,500 for the family in just two days.
Donations to the campaign will be used to cover funeral arrangements and court fees incurred when Juan Rodriguez is confronted with manslaughter and criminally negligent indictments at the death of the twins.
A heartbreaking photo shows Marissa and Juan Rodriguez celebrating the first birthday of their twin daughter and son earlier this month, three weeks before Luna and Phoenix died after their father accidentally left them in a hot car while he went to work at a veteran hospital in The Bronx on Friday. With matching smiles and circus-themed shirts, the parents each held one of the twins while posing with their three older children for the photo
Juan Rodriguez, social worker and veteran from the Iraq war, has been described by friends and family as a & # 39; loving father and dedicated husband & # 39; with a & # 39; relentless drive to improve the lives of others & # 39 ;. He is depicted with the twins shortly after they were born in mid-July last year
Family and friends gathered to meet the & # 39; loving father and dedicated husband & # 39; to defend those who had organized the birthday party complete with a bouncy castle in the garden of their home in New City.
Ray Valerio, who identifies himself on his Facebook page as Juan Rodriguez's uncle and brother, shared a link to the GoFundMe page with a passionate statement stating the father and his relentless drive to live the life of improve others & # 39; endorsed.
Donations to the GoFundMe campaign will be used to cover legal costs incurred when Juan Rodriguez is confronted with manslaughter and criminally negligent indictments in the death of the twins. He is seen Saturday in the Bronx Criminal Court, where he pleaded not guilty
& # 39; A disabled veteran, as well as a social worker for the VA Hospital in the Bronx, (Juan), has first-hand knowledge of how traumatic experiences can affect lives. He has helped countless veterans in their daily lives and has served as a liaison between veterans and external agencies working closely with the VA hospital, such as the NYPD. He has devoted his life to public service, and has positively influenced thousands of lives.
& # 39; Juan is an honest and hardworking man. A man who now has to deal with the same type of traumatic loss that he has helped others to cope in the past. & # 39;
Valerio said Juan's deadly mistake was & # 39; an unfortunate case of what is called forgotten baby syndrome … where parents accidentally forget a child and leave them in their vehicle while performing daily tasks and routines & # 39 ;
& # 39; Parents often think that their child is in a safe place, such as childcare or at home. It has become a repeat throughout the country and unfortunately it happened to Juan yesterday, & he wrote.
Valerio asked the public to help the family get through this terrible and dark moment and find peace during this nightmare.
& # 39; This family wants to mourn and be reunited together, while they begin the impossible task of living with their lives &, he wrote.
& # 39; We ask for community support in the same way that Juan supported this same community while his family tackles this tragedy. & # 39;
The family of seven has asked for privacy when they begin to deal with the tragic death of the twins
Rodriguez is said to have forgotten to let the twins, son Phoenix and daughter Luna (photo), go to a daycare center on Friday morning, leaving them behind in his Honda Accord
Marissa Rodriguez has vowed to assist her husband while facing two counts of manslaughter and two counts of criminally negligent murder.
& # 39; I will never get over this loss and I know he will never forgive himself for this mistake, & # 39; said the saddened mother in a statement NBC News on Sunday.
& # 39; This was a terrible accident and I need him by my side to get through this together.
& # 39; Although I hurt more than I ever thought possible, I still love my husband. He is a good person and a great father and I know he would never have done anything to intentionally hurt our children. & # 39;
She has asked for privacy, so that the couple can mourn, be strong and be present for our other children & # 39 ;.
Juan sank into his wife's arms and cried outside the Bronx Criminal Court after pleading not guilty to all counts and placing a $ 100,000 bond on Saturday.
Allegedly, he let his children brood for eight hours in his Honda Accord while working at the James J Peters VA Medical Center and the outside temperatures climbed to nearly 90 degrees in New York City.
The father returned to his car just before 4 pm and drove about 10 minutes before he realized that the baby & # 39; s in the back seat & # 39; were foaming at the mouth & # 39 ;.
After he had made the tragic discovery, he burst out screaming that it caught the attention of a bystander who quickly called 911.
& # 39; I assumed I dropped them off at the day care center before going to work, & # 39; he said allegedly to the police who arrived on the spot.
& # 39; I refused! I My babies are dead! I killed my baby & # 39; s! & # 39;
Juan Rodriguez parked his Honda Accord (photo) outside the James J Peters VA Medical Center and went in shortly after 8 am for work, the twins in the backseat forgotten
Juan Rodriguez moaned in pain when prosecutors described in detail how the twins' bodies each reached a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit during a hearing on Saturday (photo)
Meanwhile, shocked neighbors have described Rodriguez as a dedicated father.
In addition to the three children he shared with wife Marissa, he has two older children from a previous marriage.
& # 39; He always did things with the children, & # 39; told a neighbor The New York Post.
& # 39; Always playing in the garden. They had a big camp last weekend, with tents in the back yard. He would always catch or play basketball with his older child. & # 39;
A friend of the family told The New York Post in the same way that Rodriguez & # 39; a great guy & # 39; is.
& # 39; He has always been there for his children. Always. This is just a terrible situation, & the friend said.
Facebook photos show Rodriguez as a dedicated family man who was often depicted on twins.
The father cried in the arms of his wife outside of the Bronx Criminal Court after placing a $ 100,000 bond
Marissa Rodriguez sobs outside the Bronx Criminal Court on Saturday while her husband's lawyer, Joey Jackson, defended his client before the press
About 50 family members were found to support a destroyed Rodriguez during his first trial on Saturday.
The father was dressed in a turquoise T-shirt and jeans – the same outfit he wore on Friday to work.
Rodriguez wailed in pain when the prosecutors described in detail how the twins' bodies each reached a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit.
& # 39; This is a tragedy of horrible proportions, & # 39; said Rodriguez & # 39; s lawyer Joey Jackson to the judge while his client sobbed beside him.
The lawyer later held a press conference with the wife of Rodriguez, Marissa, who took the couple's four-year-old child to the hearing.
& # 39; He was inconsolable and is still trying to cope with the horrific nature of this crime & # 39 ;, Jackson said The New York Daily News.
Rodriguez's mother was one of the relatives who turned to the hearing – and was clearly tormented by the loss of her two grandchildren.
Pending legal proceedings, she repeatedly shouted: & # 39; My grandparents! & # 39; in Spanish.
She told it later The New York Post she feared the mental state of her son.
& # 39; Do you know what I'm afraid of? If he gets out, he can't stand it. He needs help. & # 39;
Jackson said that Rodriguez served as a soldier in Iraq and worked to support fellow veterans in the medical center where he worked as a social worker.
His clients are homeless, disabled and HIV-positive veterans, according to his lawyer.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news