MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Family members from near and far went to Modesto to honor a man’s life. They describe him as a devoted father who loved being around his family and friends.
But now they’re all mourning his untimely death.
Modesto police say around 11 p.m. Thursday, officers found 25-year-old Joel Vasquez Barragan lying at the intersection of South Conejo Avenue and Oregon Drive. Officials haven't said what happened but officers pronounced him dead at the scene.
Candles, flowers and a picture of Barragan – known to family and friends as Bryan – now sit near where police found him.
Barragan’s mother said she knew something was wrong when he didn’t come back home on Friday.
“That she didn’t call him on the 14th. She was worried about that,” said Barragan’s cousin, Jose Hernadez who translated for the mother.
Barragan’s mother describes her son as the light of her life.
“That was the love of her life. Her child,” said Hernandez.
His death is now being investigated as a homicide, according to police.
“She says she’s just waiting on the police report to come so she can identify her son,” said Hernandez. “She doesn’t know anything about him. She has not seen him.”
Loved ones said Barragan leaves behind a one-year-old daughter.
“He was just working for his daughter. That was it,” said Shonty Vongsa, Barragan’s girlfriend.
While detectives with the violent crime’s unit take over the investigation, his family is remembering him as a father, son and brother who was taken too soon.
“He was just trying to better himself for his daughter,” said Barragan’s brother. “He only loved his daughter. That's all he ever talked about was his daughter.”
If you have information about the homicide you are asked to call Modesto police.
"She is always going to have him in her heart," said Hernandez.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.