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Funeral home to cover cost of services for 5-year-old boy

Ten year old Treyson Roberson moves a child's toy on Tuesday afternoon at the home of a child (five year old Robert Martinez) that was killed by a cabinet falling on him Sunday morning in Modesto. On Tuesday (12/8/09), Modesto Fire and members of the community came together to help the family finish moving out and to clean the property. At back is Chuck Rivera with the Modesto Fire Department. (JOAN BARNETT LEE / jlee@modbee.com)
Ten year old Treyson Roberson moves a child's toy on Tuesday afternoon at the home of a child (five year old Robert Martinez) that was killed by a cabinet falling on him Sunday morning in Modesto. On Tuesday (12/8/09), Modesto Fire and members of the community came together to help the family finish moving out and to clean the property. At back is Chuck Rivera with the Modesto Fire Department. (JOAN BARNETT LEE / jlee@modbee.com)

UPDATE - Lakewood Memorial Park & Funeral Home in Hughson said today it will cover about $7,500 in funeral and burial expenses for a 5-year-old boy killed while his family was moving out of their foreclosed house.

Robert Edward Martinez died Sunday after a cabinet fell on him in the garage of his northeast Modesto house.

In addition to Lakewood’s donation, Robert’s family will rely on community donations to pay for flowers and a casket, among other costs related to his funeral.

"Our entire staff has been touched by this sad event," said John Short with the Lakewood Memorial Park. "To lose your home is very difficult. To lose your child is immeasurably painful."

As of Wednesday afternoon, $800 had been deposited into a bank account for Robert’s funeral, said Nichole Carrasco, a family friend.

"Robert touched so many people," Carrasco said. "This is just so overwhelming."

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The Martinez family was making funeral plans for their 5-year-old son as dozens of neighbors and friends helped empty the family's foreclosed house Tuesday afternoon.

Robert Edward Martinez died Sunday after a cabinet fell on him while the family was moving out of their house in northeast Modesto.

The faces of Modesto firefighters, Freedom Elementary School parents and neighbors were grim as they picked up the last boxes of toys and pieces of furniture. They thought of their children, some the same age as Robert.

"It could've happened to any one of us," said firefighter Chad Walker, who lives near the house on Phar Lap Avenue. "It brings it too close to home."

Family members were busy moving furniture when the boy opened the garage door, which hit the tall cabinet and caused it to tip. Robert's mother, Teresa Rodriguez-Martinez, believes Robert was trying to stop the cabinet from falling when it landed on him.

The family also has a 17-month-old boy.

Rodriguez-Martinez arrived to see the last things leave her house. Monday night was the first time she had slept since the accident. She hadn't eaten until Tuesday.

She said her son, born on New Year's Day, was an "old soul," known for asking questions as soon as he learned to talk. He was precise about everything, from lining up his toys to referring to himself by his full name — Robert, not "Rob" or "Bobby."

"He was the perfect child," Rodriguez-Martinez said.

Donations to help pay for funeral costs can be made to the Robert Martinez Jr. Memorial Fund at U.S. Bank, account number 153463180601.

A viewing will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto. The funeral service will be there at 10 a.m. Friday.

Bee staff writer Merrill Balassone can be reached at mbalassone@modbee.com or 578-2337.

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