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Community Rallies Around Family After 6-Year-Old Poughkeepsie Boy Dies

Walter Arias
Walter Arias Photo Credit: Contributed

A family that recently immigrated to Poughkeepsie is raising money to help pay for the cost of burying their 6-year-old child back home in Guatemala.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family of Walter Arias, who passed away last week after battling digestive issues. Almost $1,500 has been raised as of March 31.

Tonya Pezzullo's in-laws own Milanese, an Italian restaurant in Poughkeepsie, and Walter's cousins live above the restaurant. After hearing what happened, Pezzullo said she wanted to do whatever we could to help out.

Walter and his mother arrived in Poughkeepsie from Gutamela six weeks ago, with Walter battling undiagnosed digestive issues, Pezzullo said. Walter seemed to be doing better but last week he was sent home from school complaining of vomiting and diarrhea, Pezzullo said. 

His condition soon went downhill and by the time he was brought to the hospital, he was dead, Powell said. 

"There was nothing they could do," Powell said

The family signed a contract with a funeral home in Brooklyn to transport Walter's body back to Guatemala, which will take place on Monday. All donations raised will go directly to the funeral home to offset expenses and any money left over will be donated to the family.

"The family is completely devastated," Powell said. 

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