Outside of the ice skating rink where Monet Garcia spent her days, her classmates and friends on Tuesday night grabbed a microphone one after the other to tell the crowd about the joyful and kind 12-year-old.
About 200 people had gathered outside of SoBe Ice Arena, at 2400 N. Rancho Drive in the northwest valley, to celebrate Monet’s life. On Friday night, Monet and her father, 42-year-old Mark Garcia, were on their way to meet Monet’s mother for dinner when a motorcyclist struck their car, killing the father and daughter.
The Metropolitan Police Department has said the motorcyclist, 28-year-old Johnathan Smith, was speeding and “driving recklessly” on westbound Flamingo Road when he went to turn onto Duneville Street, near Jones Boulevard. Smith crossed in front of Mark Garcia’s Lexus, which overturned and caught fire, police said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Monet and Mark Garcia had not been identified by the Clark County coroner’s office, but family spokeswoman Marisa Martin identified the two in an interview with the Review-Journal.
Sobs could be heard through the crowd on Tuesday night as Monet’s friends, mostly other middle school-age girls, shared memories of the Las Vegas girl. They emphasized her kindness, love for others and sense of humor.
“I would have to say about half of the school was her best friend,” said Bailey Boman, one of Monet’s classmates.
Some of the girls said they met Monet at the ice skating rink, where she skated as a member of the Las Vegas Figure Skating Club. Monet competed locally and out of state and volunteered as a junior coach in the Vegas Golden Knights Skating Academy.
A fellow skater laughed when she told the crowd about how just last week, Monet came to the rink and “showed off her new bangs.”
Another girl remembered how Monet taught her how to ice skate, saying “she was the best friend I could have asked for.”
Monet’s mother, Maria Conchos, took the microphone after nearly half an hour and thanked everyone.
“Words cannot express the joy that you guys have given me tonight by sharing all of your wonderful stories about my baby girl,” Conchos said.
Conchos said that during one of her last conversations with Monet, her daughter was talking about high school magnet programs that had just given a presentation at her school, Knudson Middle.
She said Monet was focused on which school would give her a good education.
“‘I’m going to be in the FBI, and so I need to make sure that the high school that I go to will get me into the FBI,’” Conchos recalled her daughter saying.
Yolie McNamara, Mark Garcia’s younger sister, told the crowd that her brother loved to be around his family and his children.
McNamara said her brother never slept, because he was always up “figuring out how he was going to provide for his family.”
After the vigil, McNamara’s son, 17-year-old AJ McNamara, said he was happy to see the large crowd all holding candles and sharing stories about his cousin and uncle.
“It was nice to see all these people from different backgrounds coming together,” he said.
He described Mark Garcia as a good father and an “outgoing, big thinker” who was ” very important to all of us.”
Monet’s mother said Mark Garcia gave the 12-year-old her sense of confidence and ability to debate with anyone. She told the crowd that her faith has helped her after the crash and that she would hang on to the vision of her daughter as she dropped her off for school every day.
Conchos said that after Monet jumped out of her car, she would always turn around to say something like “I love you, mamma; have a great day; make sure you show people Jesus’ love.”