Family says father criticized online after decision to take son off life support

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A Grand Rapids family is grieving over the loss of their 3-year-old boy, who died days after being injured in a crash on US-131.  The crash killed his pregnant mother.

Guillermo Arreola was a passenger in a car that stalled Jan. 7 along US-131 near Franklin Street. The car was struck by a truck, killing his mother Valery Arreola and her unborn child.

Relatives tell FOX 17 that Guillermo suffered numerous serious injures in the crash, including a fractured spine.  His father, Maximiliano Velasco, was left in the unimaginable position of having to decide to take his son off of life support.

Guillermo's aunt Abigail Calixto says that, because of the severity of his spinal cord injury, doctors said he would never walk again.

"He had very severe brain damage," she said. "He didn't know who was his father, his uncle or his brother."

Calixto says Velasco struggled hard with the decision. "It's not a decision my brother made by himself," she said. "It's a decision he made by talking with doctors."

With the family struggling through the decision, they are shocked at what some are saying about them.

"There's been several comments on social media where they are saying that my brother is a bad father for doing that," Calixto said. "So we are just asking for some respect for him, because they wouldn't know what they would do if they were in his shoes."

The family is having a private funeral this weekend.  They have a GoFundMe page set up to help cover the costs.

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5 comments

  • Danielle Smith

    Thank goodness one of the boxes on the DHS forms is for burial assistance so this family has a little less stress. I will say this a boy of that age in shock will look at all people blankly seeking hugs if loved. But this child’s quality of life would be quite difficult. I’ve worked with handicap people all thru my early adulthood.. McDonald’s part time included. It’s one thing knowing they are born perfectly imperfect but watching your perfect go to imperfectly fucked up… Mercy is what Great Father’s are made of.

  • Danielle Smith

    However a responsive child who is still alert and cognitive could despite what some may say, my professional opinion would be that a spinal fracture can change with growth and activity. Modern medicine has advanced but with no promises because his bones won’t be done developing in hands fully til 12…it’s again back to dad’s call on hell or Mercy.

  • Wings

    Tell the people on social media to mind their own business as they do NOT have ALL the FACTS.
    To the father, sorry for your loss.

  • Deborah Wilburn

    He m made the most unselfish decision any parent could ever make. I have had to make that decosion for a loved one and I cannot imagine making it for my child. May God be with hom and his family.