On the last day of their honeymoon, they wanted one more adventure.
Victor and Crystal Rodriguez were married June 4 in Roseville. The two spent a few days in Disneyland before heading to the beaches in the Bahamas. It was a much needed break for the newlyweds, who worked seven jobs between them and were active in the local Christian community.
They both loved the outdoors and sports her bridesmaids wore teal and black, the color of the San Jose Sharks. On the day before their return home, they decided to parasail. Shortly after 1 p.m. on June 16, they were about 40 feet above the water. Their harness snapped, bystanders reported. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. He is in intensive care at a hospital in the Bahamas with extensive internal injuries.
Now, family and friends are raising funds to help pay for her funeral costs and his medical needs. The couple, both 22, did not have insurance.
Word about the tragedy has spread quickly throughout the Sacramento-area faith community. Members of Bayside Church in Roseville, where Victor Rodriguez's mother, Jeanne, works, have rallied to help the family and set up a memorial fund.
"This has been unfathomable," said Joanna Larrew, who attended the couple's wedding. "The last time I saw them, it was such a joyous occasion, they were so in love, and now this."
The accident is still under investigation, according to friends and news reports. For now, friends and family are stepping up efforts to help the family.
"Vic and Crystal are incredibly well-liked and very strong in their faith," said the Rev. Rob Maxley. He presided over the couple's nuptials at Valley Springs Presbyterian Church in Roseville and has known the couple for several years.
He admired the couple's work ethic and commitment to the community. "They did it the way you want your kids to do it, said Maxley. "I've done lots of marriages and when I left their wedding, both my wife and I looked at each other and said, 'that is an amazing couple.' "
Victor Rodriguez met Crystal Andrews several years ago through a mutual friend. They hit it off right away, dated for a couple of years and became engaged during a camping trip. The two, both students, shared a love of faith and worked hard, say those who knew them.
Victor Rodriguez holds four jobs youth sports coordinator for Citrus Heights Recreation, an umpire for arena softball, a locker room attendant for the Sacramento Kings and an assistant coach at Victory High School in Carmichael.
Crystal Rodriguez was studying family and consumer science and had one year left at California State University, Sacramento. She wanted to be a hospital advocate for children. She had three jobs, including working as a waitress at Bandera restaurant.
"Crystal had the biggest, most beautiful smile you have ever seen," said Larrew.
The couple also shared an adventurous spirit, say friends. When she had an opportunity to study for a semester in Australia, for example, he encouraged her to go.
"He didn't want her to regret anything," said Maxley.
Though the two devoted a lot of energy to working, they were also easygoing, say friends. Three days before the wedding, for example, the unexpected June rain forced them to move the long-planned outdoor ceremony to the church. "They took it in stride," said Jeannie Scott, one of the couple's bridesmaids.
The last time friends and family saw the newlyweds was an image they will always remember. They held sparklers over them as they ran to their car to begin their honeymoon.
Now loved ones are trying to figure out what happened and have spoken to one person who was there shortly afterward.
Joe Jodway, who worked as an EMT in Michigan, and his wife were on their honeymoon there. "Victor was in and out of consciousness," he said. "He asked about her."
Jodway said Crystal was beside her husband on the beach while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. "I took her hand and put it into his." He does not know if Rodriguez will remember.
Victor Rodriguez will remain in the hospital for at least another week. Friends and family are working to bring him home for his wife's funeral services.
R. W. Baird
300 University Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
Checks should be made payable to R. W. Baird; c/o Rodriguez Family Care Fund