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Family mourns mom who died after capital river party

Sonia Rangel Valencia, left, seen with children Miguel and Mayra Horta, recently became a U.S. citizen.
Sonia Rangel Valencia, left, seen with children Miguel and Mayra Horta, recently became a U.S. citizen. Courtesy of Miguel Horta

The children of a women who died after an accident at a river party have launched a campaign to raise $10,000 to help cover funeral and other expenses.

Sonia Rangel Valencia, 36, was a bodybuilding enthusiast celebrating her newly acquired U.S. citizenship at the June 28 Rage on the River event, which launched from Discovery Park at noon that day. She attended the party with three friends, said her son, Miguel Horta, who turns 21 Monday.

Valencia, of Sunnyvale, died Wednesday, nearly three days after she was pulled out of the water about a quarter-mile east of Jibboom Street. She was one of two people pulled from the water by others on the river shortly before 5:30 p.m. and taken to a nearby law enforcement boat, according to the Sacramento Fire Department. Fire spokesman Roberto Padilla said earlier that the department did not know how the victims ended up in the river.

The condition of the second woman was unavailable Saturday.

Valencia’s family started a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses and provide a safety net for Miguel, his sister Mayra Horta, 19, and her year-old daughter.

Sonia was a genuine, loving person who had a warm smile and quirky personality. Everyone who met her loved her and she will be greatly missed.

Gofundme page for Sonia Rangel Valencia

Miguel Horta described his mother as a selfless, lively woman. Valencia actively entered International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness competitions in the figure division. Valencia, an immigrant from Michoacán, Mexico, raised Miguel and his sister as a single mother.

“She was just a mother to us,” said Miguel, who lives in Santa Clara. “She found the time to hang out with us and save all her money and spend it on the things we needed. She would do all these things but still find the time to stay healthy and cook healthy meals.”

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