North Texas Daily

Students, community gather to remember Julio Santos

Students, community gather to remember Julio Santos

June 13
19:50 2015

Update Saturday, June 13

Rhiannon Saegert | Senior Staff Writer

A crowd of about 200 people gathered in the Library Mall Friday night to remember their friend and classmate, Julio Santos, who was recently found dead in Austin, through stories, tears, music and laughter.

Speakers took turns at a microphone, sharing their memories of Santos, whose friendly, open demeanor and penchant for bold outfits and makeup made him recognizable even to people who didn’t know him personally. Those who attended were encouraged to wear their best thrift outfits in honor of Santos, making for an eclectic-looking crowd.

“He would have loved to see so many people encouraged by him and inspired and I know, for all of us, he’s always going to be there,” said UNT alumnae Emily Hoffman, another close friend of Santos’. “Here’s here right now.”

Santos’ childhood friend Lizette Morillo shared high school memories of Santos with the crowd.

“He was so talented,” Morillo said. “I’ve never been to UNT, but this is a place where he became himself, because in high school you would not have recognized him, and I’m just so happy that he became who he was supposed to be. Fabulous, with lipgloss and long hair.”

Santos’ friend and roommate, Lladira Patino, said she met Santos her freshman year of high school when she moved to Kyle, Texas. They’d been mistaken for a couple more than once throughout high school and lived together while attending UNT. She said their friendship was always platonic, but very close.

“We were soulmates,” Patino said. “If there’s anything I want to say it’s that we loved him.”

Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful,” Santos’ favorite song, played while mourners cracked glowsticks provided by Student Government Association in place of lit candles and held hands for a moment of silence. As the song ended, the vigil continued with more people stepping up to share stories.


Candles and glow sticks lit students who stood together at Library Mall.

Santos’ former classmate, Cory Simmons, played Kenny G’s “Songbird” for the crowd, in reference to an inside joke he had with Santos, who played the saxophone. Despite the solemn occasion, the crowd laughed at the song’s recognizable introduction before quieting down for another moment of silence.

“He just had confidence with everything that he did, and whether you chose to agree with the way he dressed or the way he looked, you had no choice but to respect that,” Simmons said. “And as the years went by… I realized he was a true gentleman. I don’t think I know any other gentlemen like him.”


In honor of Julio Santos, the UNT flag was lowered as students watched in a moment of silence.

At the end of the vigil, the green Texas flag near the south end of the Library Mall was lowered to half-staff. As of Saturday, the GoFundMe campaign to plant a memorial tree on campus and help with funeral costs has reached $ 2,915. The campaign’s creator, Mary Bielamowicz, said plans for a memorial tree will be made within the next six months.

“Y’all are all different,” Patino said to the crowd. “There’s nobody like you, don’t be scared to be who you are. If anything, embrace it. Stand up tall just like Julio did everywhere he went. That’s the biggest thing he would have said.”

The North Texas Daily is following the story. Developments will be posted as they are made available.

Friday night vigil planned for Santos

Rhiannon Saegert | Senior Staff Writer

As UNT mourns Julio Santos, the recent UNT graduate who went missing June 5 and was found dead in Austin earlier this week, students and faculty are finding ways to honor his legacy.

A GoFundMe campaign started by Santos’ friend, Mary Bielamowicz, can be found here.  So far, about $750 has been raised to help cover funeral expenses and hopefully plant a tree on campus in his memory. A candlelight vigil will be held at 8:30 p.m. this Friday in the Library Mall.

Merchandising and digital retailing senior Tessa Pierce, a friend of Santos’, is organizing the vigil. She said SGA is providing glowsticks, and attendees are all encouraged to wear their best thrift store finds.

“It’s because that is where Julio got all of his clothes and inspiration from,” Pierce said. “He constantly thrifted and wore some of the most amazing bold vintage outfits.”

Santos, who worked in Willis Library, was a recognizable figure on campus, even to people who didn’t know him well.

“I used to see Julio Santos III on the UNT campus all the time whether it was at the library, Fry street or the bookstore, he was there working his hardest,” Ashton Kyle Wilson wrote on the vigil’s Facebook page. “I always used to think every time I saw him ‘What an interesting and creative person who carries himself with a sense of artistic passion and independence, not to mention a great sense of style.’ It is truly tragic that someone like him has passed away.”

Academic adviser Brittany Barrett was among those who donated. She remembers Santos for his politeness, intelligence and sense of humor.

“He was a very smart and outgoing student,” Barrett said. “He was pursuing a double major. He was really going to go far with that. He had just walked across the stage in May.”

Barrett said Santos spoke about his family and friends often when he came in to discuss his courses.

“There was a very strong bond, you could tell by listening to him talk about them,” Barrett said.

New information about the vigil can be found here on Facebook.

Julio Santos, 22, found dead in Austin

Staff Reports

Julio Santos III was found dead in Lady Bird Lake after he was last seen early on the morning of Friday, June 5. He was 22.Screenshot 2015-06-09 14.45.25

His body was discovered around 7:15 a.m. Sunday, and it was not immediately certain whether it was Santos. Police officially declared it was Santos’ body Tuesday afternoon. The Travis County Medical Examiner’s office did not identify any suspicious trauma, and Austin Police will continue the investigation as not suspicious, according to a press release.

Santos was last seen alive on Sixth Street in Austin. He was with some friends, according to a Facebook post. He was reported as a missing person to the Austin Police Department Friday afternoon.

Student Government Association announced Wednesday afternoon that there will be candlelight vigil at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Library Mall. There had been plans made by SGA to have the vigil Thursday night, but SGA president Adam Alattry said SGA needed to confirm the time with Santos’ family.

Featured Image: Students held hands at Library Mall Friday in remembrance of their beloved friend, Julio Santos  Hannah Ridings | Visuals Editor

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