By Erica Morse
Editor-in-Chief, Victims News Online
Updated 11:20 p.m., August 8, 2015

(VNO) — They filed into the church, two by two, each carrying a single pink rose.

Loved ones of Mark Anthony Ysasaga lined the table with flowers during the opening moments of the teen’s memorial service.

The procession, led by his mother, ended at a table positioned in front of the altar. Each rose was laid upon the table, as the family and friends of Mark Anthony Ysasaga filed into the pews, preparing to say ‘goodbye’ to the teen whose life was senselessly taken three years ago.

Mark Anthony Ysasaga was fifteen-years-old when he vanished in June 2012 from Lubbock, Texas. Friday afternoon, Mark was honored by hundreds who turned out for a public memorial service at Trinity Church to remember the teen who holds a special place in the hearts of all who knew him.

Mark — known as “Anthony” to those closest to him — disappeared on June 14, 2012. After an exhaustive three-year search, Mark was located in June 2015, a few miles from where he was last seen. An acquaintance of Mark’s, 20-year-old Jose Simental, was arrested in May of this year, and indicted for Mark Ysasaga’s murder.

Pastor David Savage opened the service with a prayer, followed by a video of Mark’s life, and a live guitar performance by Brittan Church.

The video, titled, “I Got My Wings”, was written, sang, and performed by Danny Lavoe, Cubbz, & Rikki Denise. Friends and loved ones participated in the video, donning t-shirts bearing the #J4MAY hashtag dedicated to getting justice for the murdered teen.

Mark Anthony’s friends and family then took turns at the podium, honoring the murdered teen, whose life — while cut short — was “full of great things”, according to his elementary school teacher. From his closest friends to his elementary school principal, Mark Anthony’s loved ones memorialized, celebrated, and honored his life. VNO’s Erica Morse delivered the eulogy.

His was a life remembered:  a life celebrated, as loved ones described his prankster-like sense of humor, his “big bear hugs”, and his willingness to help anyone in need. Mark Anthony, who aspired to one day become a police/SWAT officer, was remembered as the kind of kid who “would do anything for anyone”, with an unforgettable smile.

Before the closing prayer, Mark Anthony’s mother, Anna Ysasaga-Cuevas, accompanied by her younger son, stood momentarily and addressed the congregation:

Thank you to everyone who has supported my family over the last three years”, she said.

mark memorial

After the service, family members attended a private gathering at the Ysasaga home. A private funeral will be held for the family at a later date. 

A special message inside the program from the family extended their gratitude for the community’s support during the search for Mark – and since he was found two months ago:

The thoughts, prayers, and generosity of family & friends provided strength after the loss of our Mark Anthony Ysasaga. During the trials of this hour, we thank everyone for the company and efforts in making this time a little easier.”
— Sincerely, the family of Mark Anthony Ysasaga

There is still work to be done for “Team Ysasaga”, as they continue their quest for justice. The family — along with their supporters, known by the hashtag, #J4MAY — now await the upcoming trial, vowing to be in the courtroom to see justice served for the murdered teen.

A full-stream of Friday’s memorial service may be viewed online, courtesy of

The official Facebook page for Mark Anthony Ysasaga may be found here. Full coverage of Mark’s case from our team may be found here.

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