The drug-trafficking father of one of the 19 kids slain in the Texas school massacre has been denied compassionate release from federal prison to go to his daughter’s funeral.
Eli Torres confirmed to the Houston Chronicle that he was denied temporary leave to pay his final respects to his daughter Eliahna, 10, whom he was expecting to see this week in a prison visit.
Instead, he is only allowed to watch a livestream of Thursday’s service from inside the Kentucky lockup where he is serving 25 years for drug trafficking and conspiracy.
“The days and nights, they’re dark … I can’t see no light,” the one-time gang leader said of being forced to grieve alone while behind bars.
His case has been picked up by local campaigners, with Kentucky state Rep. Attica Scott on Tuesday writing directly to President Biden, begging him to intervene.
“I can only imagine the depth of the void that these victims’ absences will leave in their family’s lives,” Scott wrote, pleading with Biden to help “unite” the family in a time of overwhelming loss.
The local rep. insisted that Torres’ “rehabilitation record and behavior as an inmate would merit” such a temporary release, without elaborating.
However, Torres — who led a violent gang dubbed “The Texas Syndicate,” court records show — seemed willing to blame his own life choices, which saw him incarcerated for most of his young daughter’s life.
“The choices I made, it cost me,” he told the Chronicle of gang-banging and drug trafficking.
“I could have prevented this from happening, somehow, some way, as a father. … I could have stopped it somehow. Protected her,” he said.
Instead, he has been left only with sleepless nights full of nightmares about his daughter, whom he said he regularly spoke to in prison calls and sent him her final letter days before she was gunned down alongside 18 school friends and two teachers in Robb Elementary School.
Visitation for his daughter is set to start late Wednesday, with the funeral 11 a.m. Thursday.
“In her short time living with us, Eliahna managed to have a huge impact in many lives,” her obituary says of the Tik Tok-loving “master of jests.”
“She was a loving and compassionate person who loved to be silly. She had the most beautiful smile that could light up your soul.”
The Bureau of Prisons said it could not comment or provide details due to “privacy, safety, and security reasons.”