Teen who died after fall remembered as the happy girl of the fam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Teen who died after fall remembered as the happy girl of the family

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One word comes to mind for everyone that knew and loved Teresa Cardenas: happy.

Cardenas died after falling from a ladder at Iowa Mennonite School in Kalona, where she was only a sophomore. 

Family of Cardenas said they are in pain and are shocked by what happened to the girl that they described as "always happy." She loved to paint, was active in sports, and a talented singer.

"[She was the] happy girl of the family. Everywhere Teresa would go she would make the place special and just... happy. You'll be laughing,"  Gloria Villatoro, Teresa's aunt, said. Villatoro is also her pastor at the Hispanic Mennonite Church in Iowa City.

She said faith was important to their family and that's why Teresa's mother enrolled her to the Iowa Mennonite School, one year earlier. All of the details behind the fall is still unknown, even to Villatoro, but she said the family is focused more on the grieving process.

As a family, we're just trying to be together to support each other. At this moment we're not asking why or we're not asking how did it happen? We don't want to blame anybody. This is a time to support each other, love each other and be together as family," she said.

Villatoro said it's hard knowing that she won't be there for Christmas but it's the family's faith that will guide through the healing process.

"She's with the lord, that she is in a better place and she will be missed but one day we will see her," she said. 

Funeral services for Cardenas will be held in the Celebration Hall at Iowa Mennonite School at 10 a.m., a burial will follow at the Lower Deer Creek Cemetery. A visitation will be held on Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. in Celebration Hall. All evening activities at the school were canceled that night.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office is investigating the fall.

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