RALEIGH — There were sniffles, sighs and sobbing from the friends and family who gathered around the grave of Eleazar Brache Herrera at Raleigh Memorial Park Cemetery on Tuesday night.
More than two dozen people held small white candles and stood around the marker on the still visible mound of Herrera’s grave. The quiet scene seemed to fuel the participants’ indignation because four months after someone stabbed Herrera on a dark, empty North Raleigh road, police still have not made an arrest.
Most of the young people who arrived for the candlelight vigil on Tuesday night wore T-shirts with Herrera’s picture emblazoned on the front, some reading “Justice for Eleazar.”
Eleazar Herrera’s brother, Manuel Herrera of Raleigh, said police have not told them anything about the case.
Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said detectives are still working the case and still soliciting information from the public that could lead to an arrest.
“I would like to remind people that a reward is being offered for useful information,” Sughrue said Wednesday.
Manuel Herrera said the family decided to hold the vigil to let people know the case is not solved and that his brother is not forgotten.
“We are still seeking answers. We still expect the police to find who did it,” Manuel Herrera said. “What we are doing here tonight will not make us feel good, but it will make us feel a little better.”
Herrera was driving one of two vehicles from a birthday party on Jan. 15 with two cousins and a family friend when they came upon an accident on New Hope Road, just east of Capital Boulevard, about 5 a.m.
The other vehicle, carrying Eleazar Herrera’s family, drove on, but he turned around and drove back to see whether he could help, police reported. When he got out, he was confronted by two men in the road, who stabbed him after a brief altercation and fled on foot.
Herrera, 20, owned a cleaning business with his family. He had moved from Bronx, N.Y., to Raleigh with his mother and brothers about five years ago. Manuel Herrera said his brother’s death has devastated his family.
“My mom, she’s strong, but she cries every day,” he said. “She’s destroyed. We all are. We are trying to go on, but it’s hard.”
The young friends and family who gathered at the cemetery off Glenwood Avenue on Tuesday night described Eleazar Herrera as vibrant. They said he cooked a mean lasagna and would sometimes take a turn at free-style rapping. When he couldn’t come up with rhyming words he would chortle, “Ooh, it’s too much!”
Danyelle Eason, 21, of Raleigh befriended Eleazar Herrera when they were in high school. “He was always trying to help others and unfortunately, it led to this,” she said.
The vigil group used its mobile phones to play some of Eleazar Herrera’s favorite songs. Among them was the tune “Papa Dios Me Dijo” by Secreto El Biberon.
“The singer is praying to God to protect him from the streets, and then he dies,” Eason said. “It’s like, ironic.”
Police ask anyone with information about Herrera’s death to call Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.