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Teens Separated in Life, Together in Death

November 10, 1995

MIAMI (AP) _ Two young lovers who drowned themselves rather than let parents keep them apart were reunited in death Friday, buried in the same plot, one casket on top of the other.

``Why have you left us?″ Xiomara Flores wailed in Spanish as she neared the casket of her 13-year-old daughter, Maryling. ``Ay, Senor!″ she cried and fainted into her husband’s arms.

Maryling and Christian Davila, 14, leaped to their deaths in a weed-choked canal late Saturday or early Sunday, leaving behind suicide notes that told of a love forbidden by Maryling’s parents and a tragedy that parallels ``Romeo and Juliet.″

Their bodies were found Tuesday. Neither teen-ager had known how to swim.

``You don’t let me see him in this world, so we’re going to another place,″ Maryling wrote in one of a half-dozen notes she scattered around her parents’ home in Sweetwater, a suburb west of Miami. ``Please don’t cry for me, this is what I want. I want to feel happy, because I’m going to a place where I can be with Christian.″

The note Christian left for his parents began: ``I can’t go on living. I’ve lost Maryling.″

When the caskets were lowered into the ground at Woodlawn Park Cemetery, Maryling’s was placed on top of Christian’s. Their sobbing schoolmates and families tossed carnations, roses and goodbye notes onto the caskets.

The families apparently decided to bury the teens together; nothing in the suicide notes indicated the children wanted to be buried together, police said.

``It was just a personal decision, a gesture of respect to the kids,″ said Arthur Arnau, spokesman for the Sweetwater Police Department.

At a memorial Mass just before the burial, the two families sat on either side of the church, the carnation-draped caskets between them in the aisle. At one point in the service, the parents of the children hugged each other.

Marlon De Jesus Flores, Maryling’s father and a Nicaraguan native, told the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale earlier in the week that he had learned his daughter was seeing Christian in June, and told her she had to be 16 to date.

Both were excellent students and had perfect attendance records at Ruben Dario Middle School.

``You’re still just a baby. What you have to do now is study,″ Flores recalled telling his daughter when he found an autographed school picture of Christian in her bedroom, about a month after they started going out.

``It may be normal for this society but it is not normal for us,″ he said.

On Friday, he held his wife as she fainted several times during the Mass and burial, sobbing intermittently and wailing as Christian’s casket was lowered into the ground.

``Give me strength!″ she cried. ``Why such little creatures?″ She left before her daughter’s casket was lowered.

Nearly 100 friends, classmates and family members, and the mayor of Sweetwater, came to pay their respects to the young couple, who had apparently never let on that they planned to kill themselves.

``How can you leave your life for a girl?″ asked Frank Cardenas, 14, a friend of Christian’s. ``That’s wrong. There are better times in life. You’re 14 years old. You’re young. You’ve got to take advantage of your life.″

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