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Vigil Held After Conn. Train Deaths

May 26, 1999

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Outside Bridgeport Hospital a cluster of Ecuadoreans prayed for Angel, the little boy the train spared.

They also prayed for his mother and three brothers who didn’t survive their walk down the tracks in the dead of night.

And they tried to answer the biggest question _ what had driven a mother to such despair that she packed up her family and marched them down the railroad tracks?

The impromptu vigil wasn’t held by relatives, but by fellow immigrants, drawn to the hospital when they heard the news.

``They are from our country,″ explained Washington Paredes of Stamford, who emigrated to the United States 20 years ago. ``We came to show support and to pray for little Angel.″

Inside the hospital, 6-year-old Angel Gabriel Urgiles Toledo lay swaddled in tubes and bandages, his left leg severed, his head seriously injured, unconscious.

``The real determination of his survival is going to be his brain injury,″ said trauma surgeon Dr. Nabil Atweh.

Angel remained in critical condition today.

He should have been at school today, at the Luis Munoz Marin elementary school in the heart of Bridgeport’s East Side, one of the poorest sections of the city. Schoolchildren said he walked there every day with his brothers. On Tuesday, his fellow pupils were sent home with notes telling their parents about the school’s great loss.

He should have been safe in bed Monday night, not trudging over a train trestle in Fairfield, an affluent neighboring town, where every morning hundreds of commuters barrel into trains for work in New York.

He shouldn’t have been in the path of the Twilight Shoreliner as it hurtled from Boston to Newport News, Va.

No one seems to know where the family was heading, or what they were fleeing. Police were trying to locate Angel’s father in Ecuador.

``It’s a sad day for everyone,″ said Maria Valle, an East Side community leader who works with immigrant children in the schools after-hours program. ``And all we can do is pray and wonder why.″

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