Funeral for girl who died after fight will be at Hollywood Forever
The services, which will be open to the public, are scheduled to take place at Hollywood Forever cemetery, where the family has planned a wake at 6 p.m. Saturday and the burial at 3 p.m. Sunday, according to Rebecca Del Cid, 18, a close friend of the family.
"She was a people person, so it's only right to let them come," Joanna's mother, Cecilia Villanueva, said.
Amid interviews with reporters, Villanueva spent Monday afternoon laying out Joanna's burial outfit on the living room sofa — a white dress that she wore last fall to a relative's quinceañera, with Hello Kitty earrings. Nearby, Del Cid worked on a funeral service handout. Two of Joanna's favorite songs will be played at the services: Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Selena's "Como La Flor" (Like the Flower).
Joanna was pronounced dead Friday at a Long Beach hospital, hours after she had gotten into a pre-planned brawl with a classmate. Authorities say the fight lasted only a minute and that no weapons were used. The coroner's office has labeled her death a homicide, but no arrests have been made. Family members and friends said the girls were fighting over a boy.
Long Beach police called the case highly unusual and delicate, given the ages of the victim and the possible suspect, and the seemingly benign origins of the fight. Officials said they had no idea what the outcome of their investigation might be, or whether criminal charges are warranted.
Law enforcement sources said officers will be interviewing students, teachers and parents and will look at Joanna's medical history to determine if the fight might have aggravated an existing condition.
Villanueva said she's been desperate to find out what happened in the alleyway off Anaheim Street. Investigators, she said, have ordered classmates who witnessed the fight not to talk to her or anyone else, in an apparent effort to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
"We just don't know what happened," Villanueva said in Spanish at the family's duplex seven blocks from Willard Elementary School, where Joanna was a fifth-grade student. "The only one who could have told me what happened is gone."
-- Ruben Vives
Photo: Cecilia Villanueva, 41, talks with a reporter about the death of her daughter Joanna Ramos, 10. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times