Uvalde parents wait hours for kids as DNA test used to confirm families

·3 min read

In the hours following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, some parents still didn't know where their children were. Students from Robb Elementary School, where a gunman opened fire, killing at least 19 children and two adults, were taken to a local civic center, where parents were later asked to pick them up.

Some parents were still waiting into the early morning to be reunited with their kids at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center, CBS affiliate KENS5 reports. DNA tests were being conducted in order to confirm the parents' relationship to the children, parents told the station.

Families waiting outside the #Uvalde civic center say they are waiting for the results of DNA match tests happening inside to see if their children are alive. Absolutely unimaginable. Some who are here are offering support for loved ones. Pastor here praying over families @KENS5 pic.twitter.com/34a4MOF4vY

— Alicia Neaves (@AliciaNeavesTV) May 25, 2022

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that many of the children could not be identified, and they needed DNA to identify them and their families.

"So that's still ongoing," he said. "But imagine you're a parent and you can't even identify your child. This is what out community is dealing with. I am a parent, I'm a father of six, and it hit me pretty horrible yesterday."

One man told CBS affiliate KHOU that he was at the civic center looking for his 10-year-old daughter on Tuesday evening, but her name was not on the list. "We don't know where to go," Jessie Rodriguez said, adding local hospitals would not let him in. "That's why we're here talking to you guys, because we need somebody to reply to us, to tell us where our daughter's at," he said.

He later learned his daughter, Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, had died, according to KHOU and his Facebook posts.

One student's aunt told KHOU on Tuesday she was having trouble reaching her niece, Ileana Torres.

"We have no idea (where she is) and it's not like her," she said. "It's not like my niece not to reach out because when she feels that she's threatened or scared, she's always calling on her cell phone. She'll blow up somebody until somebody answers her. And up to right now to this minute, we have not gotten a one phone call from her. And her phone is off."

She pleaded for anyone who knows where her niece is to contact the family.

Parents with students at other schools were asked to stay in their cars while picking up their children. The school year was about to end, but local officials said classes would be canceled for the rest of the year, including all extra-curricular activities. The graduation ceremony will be addressed at another time, they said.

Staff members were asked to still report to their campuses on Wednesday morning, counselors present to provide support. Community counselors will be available at the civic center on Wednesday to assist the Robb students, parents and faculty with counseling support.

Robb Elementary School had been celebrating the end of the school year with special "theme days," according to the school's Facebook. On Monday they wore maroon polos — the school's color. Tuesday was "Footloose and Fancy" day, where kids dressed up and wore fancy or fun shoes.

CBS News has reached out to State Sen. Ronald Rodriguez, as well as several parents, school district officials, Uvalde law enforcement and the civic center for more information, and is awaiting response.

Michelle Carter's texts with Conrad Roy

Discussing what can be done to prevent future mass shootings

Community begins to mourn in wake of Uvalde school shooting