Empty River Tube Floats in Memory of Texas Teen Killed This Year

She remembers how Justin was the DJ on last year's river trip.He was dancing, as much as you can in an inflatable tube drifting down the Guadalupe River, while playing Texas country artists like Aaron Watson and hip-hop tracks his mom can't name. Mom, Tracy Corum, and son, Justin Hernandez, of Bellville, decided that day to make it an annual tradition.One year later, Corum came back to the Guadalupe with Justin's tube. It's a blue-and-white River Run inflatable, the kind you find at Academy for 15 bucks with tax.But Justin wasn't there. The 17-year-old was killed by an accidental gunshot on May 15 at his grandmother's house near Round Top. His uncle was arrested the next day on a manslaughter charge.Now his river tube is back in Comal County as a mother's special memorial.A friend recently suggested she return to New Braunfels, back to the river where they were supposed to continue their tradition. It'd be good for her.Two months after Justin's death, she floated the Guadalupe again. His tube was tied to hers the whole trip, and carried a Yeti cooler marked with a rocking JH brand, one Justin had designed for himself.Corum listened to Aaron Watson, drank cans of Angry Orchard cider and stopped at a rocky bank to snack on fruit and summer sausage — just like she did with Justin.That day, on the river, Corum decided to make a special memorial. For so long, she's held tight to everything Justin, from the backpack he left sitting on the fireplace to the Skol cans his friends leave at his grave site. Now, she needed to let something go.With a silver marker, she drew Justin's brand on the headrest and wrote a few messages along the side."If you find me, float me!""In honor of Justin Ty Hernandez""Signed his loving & proud Momma"  Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us