Hundreds attend teen's funeral

At some point in his scholastic career, Luis Adrian Torres wrote an essay that debated the merits of homework.

"I don't think there should be more homework, don't you?" he wrote. The young man cited three reasons why: Homework ruins vacations, there should be more time for "sports and having fun" and "we kids need a lot of rest."

The typed essay illustrated the fun spirit that Torres' family said exemplified his life.

More than 200 people attended a public funeral service Monday afternoon at Harbor Christian Fellowship Church for the 19-year-old Costa Mesa teenager and Estancia High School alumnus, who died after a car crash June 16.

"I don't think he really knew how much he was loved," said older sister Bernice Torres, 21. "Not until today."

Mementos of his life — from his driver's license application and some elementary school certificates to his anti-homework essay — were displayed at the entrance of the church on West Wilson Street. Alongside them was a performance review from Chipotle Mexican Grill in Costa Mesa, where Torres worked, that called him a "very energetic team member."

A slide show offered images of Torres as a wide-eyed infant with bushy hair, a happy toddler enjoying carnival rides and a much-needed and high-spirited cheerleader for Estancia. A ukulele version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole played in the background.

Jazz Hill, a fellow Estancia alumnus, recalled that his friend Adrian — as Torres was commonly known — used to tell him that "this is the circle of life. You gotta hold your head up high."

Bernice, who graduated with her little brother at Estancia in 2011, said he helped her reach her full potential.

"He's always going to be my guardian angel," she said.

Many within the mostly young crowd paid their respects at the open casket. Some huddled around it, embracing each other and speaking softly. Torres' co-workers at Chipotle were among those who bought flower displays for the altar.

Bernice told the crowd to remember the good times they had with her brother. He would've wanted it that way, she said.

"He doesn't want to see you guys cry," she said. "He wants you to be happy."


Memorial troubles

Across town, Torres' memorial on a median along Susan Street near Sunflower Avenue has been vandalized, causing further heartache for his family.

Two days after a memorial was constructed June 16 at the site where police said Torres crashed his car into a tree, the family was told by either a resident or employee of the adjacent residential community, Providence Park, to take down the makeshift tribute.

Shortly after they did so, Cary Treff, chief executive of Providence Park's Irvine-based management company, Keystone Pacific Property Management, told the family they could put the memorial back up.

However, after putting up the items again Saturday, the family said they were shocked to see everything missing the next day, including Torres' Bible and his Chipotle crew T-shirt.

Family friend Mary Thomas Sanders said the family plans to file a police report.

"I just want his things back," Bernice said on Sunday.

"The Providence Park Homeowners Assn. Board of Directors and the Keystone Pacific Property Management team are saddened and dismayed that someone would steal from the memorial for Luis Torres," Treff said in a prepared statement to the Daily Pilot. "Our hope is that the person or persons responsible will return the stolen items immediately."

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