Friends gather to mourn slain woman, son

By Christina Killion Valdez

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

KASSON — A community in mourning filled the sanctuary and lobby of Holy Family Catholic Church in Kasson on Friday to remember Teresa Bugarin, 27, and her son, Nick Bugarin, 12, both of Dodge Center.

The brutal killing of the mother and son left the mourners in hushed disbelief. Then, as the caskets were closed, wails cut through the silence — "Por que, diosito? Why? Why?"

Yet the funeral Mass, which was spoken in both English and Spanish, was also a time to begin the healing process for the community.


"We can support and love each other," said the Rev. Kurt Farrell. "We can also hold each other accountable, and work for what’s good and holy. Something like this can tear a community apart, or make us stronger."

Teresa and Nick Bugarin died Saturday at the hands of Teresa’s husband, Ismael Bugarin, 33, according to authorities. He remains hospitalized in Rochester in serious condition. He was charged in Dodge District Court with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Nick Bugarin is being hailed as a hero. His actions the night of the killings allowed his two younger sisters to escape.

The Rev. Farrell likened the way that Nick and Teresa died to the way that Jesus died — selflessly giving up their lives.

"It’s important to realize Nick loved his dad," Farrell said. "Nick also showed up another side that inspired us all. We didn’t know, but when it came to it, he was willing to lay down his own life so that others might live. We take courage from that. It’s an example that we can forgive those who hurt us."

Nick’s mother was also honored for her compassion.

"Teresa always gave of herself," Farrell said. He noted that she organized many showers and celebrations for others at St. John Baptist de la Salle Church in Dodge Center.

She was also remembered for her vibrancy.


"Teresa was my best friend. She called me 20 times a day," said Amber Gonzalez. "What I will miss most is her smile. She was so full of energy and life. She came into the house, and it was all smiles, laughing, dancing and singing."

Teresa’s sister, Elizabeth Olmos, also remembered her sister as spectacular and full of love and compassion. Nick, her godson, was just the same, she said.

Olmos spoke from her heart when she thanked everyone for their support.

Olmos and her husband, Flavio Olmos of Byron, are caring for Teresa’s daughters, Sabrina Bugarin, 6, and Jasmine Bugarin, 8, in addition to their own sons, Flavio, 10, and Fabian, 7.

Nick’s friends spoke about Nick’s sense of humor, physical strength and caring ways. He was described by one of his teachers at Triton Middle School as smart, a role model, and a guiding light — like a shooting star that’s gone too fast but leaves a glistening trail of sparks that shine within everyone who knew him.

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