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Aurora family asks Trump not to use their name in campaign

Son: 'My mom's death isn't political propaganda'
Posted at 11:23 PM, Nov 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 09:14:35-04

AURORA, Colo -- An Aurora family is asking Donald Trump to stop using Deborah Serecky's 2008 death in his campaign speeches.

During Donald Trump's campaign speech in Greeley Sunday, he gave examples of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in Colorado.

"Patricia Guntharp and Deborah Serecky along with a small toddler were killed by an illegal immigrant who had been arrested 16 times," said Trump.

Eight years after his mother's death, Ricky Staats said Trump has painfully reopened old wounds.

"We lost the leader of our family; the person who held us all together," said Ricky Staats, Serecky's youngest son. "My mom is not political propaganda. People were directly affected by this."

In 2008, Francis Hernandez, who was in the country illegally and had a long history of arrests, slammed into three innocent people at an Aurora Baskin-Robbins.

Trump also talked about meeting with family members who have lost loved ones to crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

"I've gotten very friendly with a lot of them," Trump said, promising to deport all "criminal illegal immigrants."

Staats said Trump has never spoken to his family and never shown any interest in their case, even last December when Hernandez was trying to have his sentence shortened.

"For him to just throw it in, what, nine days before the election? It's like, 'Where were you the last eight years?'" asked Staats, who said his mother's death changed his entire life. "Don’t just throw names out there like it’s nothing because it brings back all this raw emotion and pulls on these strings that we tuck away and try to hide."

Staats said he doesn't want his family's tragedy used for Trump's political again, and he doesn't think his mother would, either.

"I just want to tuck it away and leave it as my mom to remember," he said. "I don't want her to be some example of 'Let's kick everybody out.'"    

Trump's campaign released this statement:

Mr. Trump included this tragedy in his speech to illustrate the need to enforce our immigration laws and not allow criminals who are in the country illegally to remain here, because they continue to commit crimes, and in this case took the lives of three innocent Coloradans.  As President, Mr. Trump will enforce our borders and will see that criminals who are here illegally face the full consequences of the law and are swiftly deported to avoid similar tragedies in the future.

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