LAWRENCE -- Friends and relatives of 13-year-old Joshua Figueroa, who drowned Thursday in the Merrimack River in Lawrence, remembered him today as a devoted brother and son with many friends and a love for baseball and computer games.
His cousin, Jayleen Ortiz, 18, said outside Figueroa's home on Everett Street in Lawrence that he loved his twin sister, Shakira ,and two brothers, Sergio, 8, and Christian, 11.
She said he also greeted his mother Omayra warmly each morning.
"He always asked his mom when he woke up, 'Do you need anything?'" she said. "He'd tell her every day, 'I love you.'"
Another cousin, who declined to give her name, said Joshua loved playing computer games.
"We're burying him with his laptop because he always said if anything happened to him" he would want to be buried with it, she said.
Ronnie Rivera, 16, a former neighbor of the Figueroa family, said Joshua told his mother the same thing about a month ago.
"The computer was his favorite thing," Rivera said.
He spoke to the Globe at a makeshift memorial set up near the scene of Thursday's accident at Riverfront Park.
More than 50 of Figueroa's friends and teachers from the Emily G. Wetherbee School, where he was a seventh grader, arrived soon afterward with signs bearing farewell messages.
A Wetherbee teacher said the children were told not to speak to reporters. A few of them cried at the scene.
Michael Lopez, 17, said he played baseball with Figueroa at the local Boys and Girls Club.
He said Figueroa could play any position on the field.
"He did everything," Lopez said.
Rivera added that Figueroa swam at the Boys and Girls Club and sometimes went in the Merrimack, like other children in the neighborhood.
"He was a fast swimmer," Rivera said.
Ortiz, Figueroa's cousin, said his mother was too shaken to talk about her son today.
"His mom's devastated," she said.
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