ABILENE, Texas - More than a hundred family members, friends and first responders gathered Friday to remember fallen police detective Elise Ybarra. People lined the streets carrying flags and paving the way for the funeral precession as it moved through Abilene.
Ybarra died in the line of duty Sunday. She and two other detectives were on their way to a crimes against children conference in Dallas when a vehicle collided into theirs.
Friday morning, people filled into Beltway Park Church for an emotional two-and-a-half-hour service. Pastors gave sermons, and those closest to Ybarra took the stage to share kind words.
Ybarra’s former commander with the Sedalia Police Department in Missouri, Larry Ward, said Ybarra started off as a dispatcher. It was clear then that she had the potential to be an officer, and in 2012 she became just that. Ward read statements he received from other officers on the force. One saying, “Bad guys may have thought she was just another pretty face but quickly learned she could bring down the thunder.” A large group from the Sedalia police department was present.
Ybarra followed her husband, Adam, to Abilene when he got a job at Abilene Christian University, and she joined the Abilene Police Department. Abilene Police Chief Stan Standridge said she didn’t need to, but she jumped into cadet training and graduated with class 52. Class 52 was present as well.
Standridge detailed the times Ybarra fought for children and battered women in Abilene. He choked back tears and said, “I cannot explain why the events of Sunday that took her life.” But he leaned on scripture and took comfort in God’s words, saying, “Job well done good and faithful servant.”
Ybarra was also a volunteer with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Standridge called Ybarra’s little sister, Brooklyn, and presented her with a teddy bear and a badge.
Ybarra’s older sister from Anaheim, California, bravely walked up the steps and began to tell the community who she was before the uniform. She was excited when Ybarra was born, saying it was as if she was getting her own personal baby doll. She said Elise would climb into her bed every night, even when they were annoyed with one another. When Elise got to high school, she was an all American cheerleader, a track star and an incredible singer.
Elise attended Cypress College, where she earned a degree in Journalism and Communications. She also worked at a country radio station in college. She was many things to many people, her sister said. She retrieved Elise’s phone after she died. She said among her photos was this quote, “I like when I don’t have to be careful with what I say, that’s when I know I’m with the right people.”
“She was the best friend I ever had in my life,” Adam Ybarra said. “Her smile was infectious…it’s the one thing I miss the most.”
Adam said the only reason he tells people he’s okay is because of the love and support his family, Abilene Christian University, and the Abilene Police Department has given him.
Adam said Elise wasn’t fond of the limelight and helped others as often as she could. He said she would have hated the pomp and circumstance of the funeral if she had the choice, saying, “She probably wouldn’t have even come.”
“She made me a better man, husband, and father,” he said.
He read his last text message sent to his wife.
“I love you, but what am I going to do without you,” the text read.
“Party,” said Elise’s response.
The Ybarra family was presented with the police cross and the honor guard presented the 21-gun salute.
At the end of the two hour service was Ybarra’s last call over the radio: Detective Elise Ybarra, end of watch, August 6, 2017.
Funeral services were held Friday at Beltway Park Church for an Abilene police detective killed in a crash Sunday on I-20 in Clyde.
Elise Ybarra,33, and two other detectives were on their way to the Crimes Against Children Conference in Dallas when their vehicle was rear-ended about 6:15 p.m. Sunday on eastbound I-20 at mile marker 296.
PHOTOS: REMEMBERING ELISE YBARRA --> http://www.ktxs.com/600765458
DONATIONS WIDOWER, BABY GIRL OF DETECTIVE --> http://www.ktxs.com/600752403
YBARRA 1ST FEMALE ABILENE POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN LINE OF DUTY --> http://www.ktxs.com/600777126
Ybarra's remains were cremated. There wasn't a visitation, traditional police funeral procession or a graveside service.
The Abilene Police Department's Traffic Division escorted the family to the service.
Ybarra began her law enforcement career with the Sedalia Police Department in Missouri. She started her career with the Abilene Police Department on June 2, 2014. After graduating from the Abilene Police Academy, she was sworn in as an Abilene Police Officer on Nov. 21, 2014.
Ybarra served as a patrol officer for two years and then transferred to the Special Victims’ Unit as a child abuse investigator on Dec. 14, 2016.
She is survived by her husband of eight years, Adam Ybarra, and their 10-month-old daughter.
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