Only child of soldier who died in Iraq is killed

/ Source: The Associated Press

A young mother's car left out of gear accidentally rolled over her only son and killed him, a year after her soldier husband was killed in Iraq, relatives and police said.

"It's a tragedy for all my family," said Evelyn Mercedes, 65, the soldier's grandmother. "My grandson dies. Now, this happens to the baby."

Christopher Mercedes, who turned 1 last month, slipped from his mom's arms as she got out of the sport utility vehicle that began rolling because it was in neutral gear rather than park, police said.

"She was hysterical, crying out, 'Somebody help me — he's all I have,'" said neighbor Olga Rodriguez.

Witnesses, including an off-duty firefighter, said they tried unsuccessfully to revive the boy.

"The child wasn't breathing," said the firefighter, Luis Cruz. "I began rescue breaths. I lost the pulse."

Relatives said Christopher was an only child and the father, Army Spc. Sergio A. Mercedes Saez, never got to see him. Mercedes Saez died in February 2006, when his vehicle rolled over into a canal in Baghdad, according to the Defense Department. His wife was still pregnant with Christopher at the time, relatives said.

"There's no words to describe how I feel," said Juan Mercedes Saez, who wore his dead brother's dog tags. "I lost my brother. I lost my best friend. I lost my other son."