“Fly until you find your way towards tomorrow . . . “ – Lyrics from Encanto’s “Dos Oruguitas”
Uvalde, Texas School Shooting
On May 24, 2022, a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, opening fire and taking the lives of 21 students and teachers–and injuring many others. The horrific tragedy is the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history.
On January 18, 2024, the United States Department of Justice finished its critical incident review. Sadly, the report includes police failures during the 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School and declares that “lives would have been saved” if officers had responded quickly.
Remembering Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia
On June 6, 2022, one of several children who attended in Uvalde County, Texas, was laid to rest. Thanks to Disney, she flies high in a beautiful lilac dress inspired by her favorite Disney animated film, Encanto.
Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia was only nine years old on May 24, 2022, when an 18-year-old man entered where she was a fourth grader, opening fire and claiming the lives of 19 students and two teachers.
Ellie and her family were looking forward to having a big celebration for Ellie’s 10th birthday that summer. Sadly, she was one of the 19 children whose lives were taken at the hands of a mass shooter who also wounded 17 others in the .
“She was very happy and very outgoing,” said her aunt, Siria Arizmendi. “She loved to dance and play sports. She was big into family, enjoyed being with the family.”
She would have been 10 years old on June 4, 2022. But instead of a birthday celebration, a celebration of life service honoring Ellie Garcia took place on Monday, June 6, 2022.
In the days since the the story and characters from Disney’s , Ellie’s parents, Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo, have reminisced about their daughter and about the things she loved most. Among those things–in addition to loving her family very much–were Encanto.
Disney Sends a Package
Days later, Garcia and Lugo shared a video on Facebook in which they opened a box wrapped in pastel-colored paper. The box had been sent to Ellie’s family from Disney.
Disney’s costume team received word of Ellie’s untimely passing and about her love for Encanto’s Mirabel, Dolores, Isabella, and the entire Madrigal family.
To honor Ellie and to offer hope and comfort to her family, Disney’s costumers created a custom-made gown inspired by the character Isabela Madrigal from Encanto. The small purple dress is “festooned with lilac flowers” and features cascading ruffles.
The gown was for Ellie.
But Disney’s Costume Team also sent keepsakes for Ellie’s family. Inside the box with Ellie’s gown were a swatch of the fabric and tiny flowers used to make Ellie’s dress, as well as butterflies for each of her sisters.
Also inside the box from Disney next to Ellie’s beautiful gown was a note to Ellie’s parents and to her four sisters, which read in part:
“We heard you love Encanto, too. You may notice how important butterflies are in the movie, they represent magic, hope, and family among many other things. We gave Ellie a butterfly and wanted all of her sisters to have one too. Fly until you find your way towards tomorrow.”
The note also said that Disney enclosed a swatch of fabric and flowers used in making Ellie’s dress in hopes that they “may bring some comfort to heal onto.”
In a Facebook post, Ellie’s parents shared how grateful they are to Disney for this very special gift:
We as a family wanna thank Walt Disney’s Costume Team… for sending our beautiful Ellie her own Custom Encanto dress…. It’s so beautiful it’s BEYOND beautiful… we are beyond thankful for this beautiful dress. My Ellie is the most beautiful princess out there. Mom and Dad love you… Thank You Ann and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures!!!
Please watch the very touching video here.
As new reports surface and healing is disrupted, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families in Uvalde County who lost loved ones in this terrible tragedy.