Murrieta Family Mourns Son They Raised in Vegetative State for 31 Years

A DUI crash more than 31 years ago in Temecula left Mikey Cortez unable to talk or walk for the rest of his life. He died Dec. 27, 2013.

In this Jan. 10, 2014 photo, a picture of 7-year-old Mikey Cortez, right, and a recent photo of Cortez with his parents, Paul and Roonie Cortez, and grandmother Nellie are displayed at his funeral service. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
In this Jan. 10, 2014 photo, a picture of 7-year-old Mikey Cortez, right, and a recent photo of Cortez with his parents, Paul and Roonie Cortez, and grandmother Nellie are displayed at his funeral service. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

That he was left in a vegetative, coma-like state more than 31 years ago after a 1982 Temecula DUI crash that killed his brother and three other family members did not deter a Murrieta family from giving Mikey Cortez the best life they could.

Austin “Mikey” Cortez’s valiant battle to live continued until Dec. 27, 2013—just a day before he would have turned 39—when, surrounded by his parents and surviving family members, he died in their Murrieta home, according to an Associated Press report published Saturday on The Huffington Post.

He was 7 years old when the crash left him with severe brain damage; he would never walk or talk again.

Parents Paul and Roonie Cortez cared for Mikey throughout the years, taking him in his wheelchair to his siblings’ sporting events and on trips when Paul had speaking engagements for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, according to news reports.

The driver of the car that on March 26, 1982 smashed into the one carrying Mikey on Rancho California Road, also perished, according to an article published shortly after Mikey’s death in The Press-Enterprise. Mikey’s aunt, two cousins and brother died, as did the driver and his daughter, the newspaper reported.

Mikey died of renal failure. His memorial proceedings were handled locally by Evans-Brown Mortuary in Sun City.

Did you know Mikey? Leave your memories of him in the comments section below.

LBV Collins January 27, 2014 at 08:53 PM
My sincerest sympathies to his family.
Dee January 28, 2014 at 09:47 AM
My niece from Texas sent me an article on this family last week. Now THIS is the definition of a devoted, compassionate, loyal, and loving family. A selfless family that took the meaning of put aside your own desires for others to a whole new level. together against insurmountable odds they accomplished what is so rare these days. A godly family that will hear the words from Jesus Christ, "Well done good and faithful servant."
Light Load January 28, 2014 at 10:51 PM
May God wrap his arms around Mikey's devoted family during these sad times, you are in my prayers and Lord will provide Mikey with his wings so that he will continue to soar.... God Bless you all
susan haney January 31, 2014 at 07:11 AM
After reading about Mikey, I was compelled to write. When tragedies like this happen, we all find ourselves asking, why did this happen? Why do we suffer? In answer to these questions, we are personally invited by our loving heavenly father to look to him and his word, the Bible for answers. We do have much hope for the future. Rev. 21:1-4 tell us that the time will come when we will no more fear death or endure pain. God will soon wipe these out forever. He also promises to bring back those that have already fallen asleep in death. This promise of a resurrection, gives us a wonderful hope for the future. I know this is a difficult time for you and your family. But please draw comfort from your wonderful memories of Mikey and the comfort the God's word gives us. For more comforting thoughts go to www.jw.org.
Dee January 31, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Please don't go to jw.org. Jehovah witnesses do not believe the deity of Jesus Christ. If you don't believe in Jesus Christ you do not believe in God. They follow a false doctrine. They are a cult. They deny a literal hell, which is what satan wants you to believe. You have comforting words for this family, but unfortunately jw are seriously deceived.
Brenda February 22, 2014 at 09:59 PM
Dee and Lightload, beautifully said. What a family this young man has who let him see the sunshine each day.


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