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Next benefit planned December 4th

By Janis Russell

November 3, 2015 (Lakeside)- Nearly $5,000 was raised at an October 23rd benefit event to help fund search efforts to find Elijah ‘Bear’ Diaz, who has been missing since August 29th.  The event, which drew 218 guests, was held at the Loretta Quitae LaChappa Clubhouse near Barona Resort and Casino in Lakeside. The funds will help the family hire a private investigator.

Some guests wore “Bring Bear Home” T-shirts.  The event included dinner, an open mike night, raffle, and DJ Leroy Roderick playing music throughout the night for dancing. Elijah’s grandfather, “Beaver” Curo and his Uncle, Pat Curo, played their guitars and sang together.

Then the chair of the Barona band of Mission Indians, Clifford LaChappa, godfather to Bear’s mother, Leilani Thompson, spoke.. “Myself and my family went to a similar situation,” he said, recalling his son, Matt, who suffered a heart attack while pitching for the Padres as a minor league baseball player.  Matt LaChappa remains in a wheelchair with disabilities from the unexpected medical crisis.  His situation was similar to Bear’s because of the unknown outcomes. Chairman LaChappa acknowledged that God was in control.

Mandy Curo de Quintero, Bear’s cousin, also played guitar and sang. Other people who were near to the  family also sang, including a relative, Robert Banegas, and Danny Necochea from the Barona tribe. About 20 volunteers participated to make the fundraiser a success.

Bear’s mother told East County Magazine, “We are collecting cans of any kind. Contact us through our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BringBearDiazHome/. Another fundraiser is December 4 at Harvest Church in Lakeside. It will be a painting party. A painter will teach us how to paint. Space is limited. Cost is $25.”

All proceeds will go towards the search for Bear.