Remembering the Orlando 49: Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan


Every week between now and the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, Orlando Weekly will profile a person killed on June 12, 2016. This week: Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan

The last photo of Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan shows a young woman smiling so hard inside the gay nightclub Pulse that her eyes crinkled at the corners.

Known to most as Mary, Rodriguez Solivan was married to racecar driver Juan Borges and the mother of two young boys, including a 3-month-old son. Before moving to Kissimmee, the 24-year-old lived in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Rodriguez Solivan has always been known for her smile, according to her sister Natalia Canlan.

"Mary was an amazing daughter and an extraordinary sister," Canlan wrote on a GoFundMe fundraiser for her sister's husband and sons. "She was the most loving and caring person you could ever meet; her smile lit up the room and her laughter brought a smile to your heart!"

Rodriguez Solivan was showing off her smile the night of June 12 at Pulse along with her brother-in-law William Sabad Borges and a friend, Jonathan Camuy Vega. During the mass shooting, Camuy Vega tried to protect Rodriguez Solivan from the bullets. Both ultimately perished in the attack.

"Thank you all for your prayers," Borges wrote on June 12. "But with the pain deeper than I've felt in my 28 years, with the heart ripped to shreds and with the anger that I never thought I'd feel I inform you that my sister-in-law, the person who will always be the sister that life gave me, the woman that gave life to the most important beings in my life and of my family, my two beautiful nephews, is one of the lives that were lost in the massacre."

Borges says his friend Camuy Vega "died as a hero" trying to protect his sister-in-law.

"I love you both from here to the sky, where I know you are resting," Borges wrote. "I swear that my heart has a huge ladder tall enough to get to you. Mary, you leave me with the pain that I never thought I'd feel. Mary, I love you with all the forces of my being. You will always live in me."