AURORA, Colo. — The family of the 5-year-old boy killed Monday morning as a result of what police say was an apartment fire that was started intentionally is seeking justice.
The boy's family identified him Tuesday as Abner Salmeron-Bautista Jr. His aunt Amairani Ramirez spoke with Denver7 on behalf of his mother Edlyn Salmeron who was too distraught to talk on camera.
"Because of [this] senseless act, reckless act, I no longer have a nephew. She no longer has a son. She's devastated. We're devastated," Ramirez said. "This whole thing is heartbreaking."
Abner, affectionately called "Choco" because of the chocolate-colored beauty mark on his cheek, died Monday morning.
Aurora Police say a fire on the first floor of an apartment at the Bella Terra Apartments on East Evans Avenue spread to the Salmeron family's apartment and others.
"[Edlyn] says she woke up, she smelled the fire, got her and her child ready," Ramirez said.
But as they were escaping the flames and smoke, Ramirez says Abner somehow lost his way in the darkness.
"When [Edlyn] tried to go back for him, you know, she stepped down on a few stairs and she noticed like the stairs were engulfed in flames and unfortunately couldn't go back for him," Ramirez said.
Eventually, firefighters rescued Abner and took him to the hospital. But by the time his mother and aunt arrived, it was too late.
"They were performing CPR when we got there, and they did the best they could," Ramirez said.
Police believe Alondra Michel, 37, intentionally started the fire during a domestic violence incident in an apartment on the main level.
"I'm pissed. I'm angry. I have this rage burning inside of me that ... I don't know how to go about it," Ramirez said.
Michel is now facing several charges, including murder, attempted murder and arson. She may face other charges.
The family wants justice for Abner and all the other families displaced by the fire.
"I don't wish bad on her or anything like that. God has a plan for her. But she needs to suffer. She needs to suffer," Ramirez said.
For now, Abner's loved ones are focused on paying for a funeral they never thought they'd have to plan. They're taking solace in the impact he left behind.
"He was a ray of sunshine," Ramirez said. "He was the light of the house."
In addition to needing help paying for Abner's funeral expenses, the family also needs help replacing all of his mother's belongings as she lost everything in the fire.
A GoFundMe had already raised more than $6,500 as of Tuesday afternoon.