Car wash planned for help pay water polo player's funeral expenses

Christian Fernandez Morales, 17, died Tuesday night during practice

Erik Sandoval, iReporter & Digital Content Director, esandoval@kesq.com
POSTED: 04:46 PM PDT Jun 15, 2012 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

A car wash was planned Saturday to help pay funeral expenses for a 16-year-old Palm Desert boy who died after water polo practice earlier this week.

Palm Desert High School student Christian Fernandez Morales was reported unconscious and unresponsive in the pool area at Shadow Hills High School in Indio about 9 p.m. Tuesday. He was transported to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m., according to the county fire department and the coroner's office. The cause of his death was pending autopsy results.

Morales was at practice for a summer league through USA Water Polo, according to Palm Desert High School Principal Robert Hicks.

The car wash is planned for 7 to 11 a.m. at Palm Desert High School, 74910 Aztec Road. People should come in at the main entrance at Aztec and Cook Street, car wash organizer Ed Rolph said.

"We're just mainly trying to raise up enough funds for his funeral," said Rolph, whose son Daniel plays water polo for Palm Desert High School.

Rolph said Morales' mother, Blanca, is a single parent, has three other children and is unemployed.

"If we could raise funeral costs and give them rent for a little while, that would be great," Rolph said.

Funeral services are scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday at Templo Victoria, 69220 Victoria Drive in Cathedral City. Burial is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at Forest Lawn, 69-855 E. Ramon Road, Cathedral City.

Desert Sands Unified School District officials could not be reached for comment. Hicks told City News Service the school wouldn't currently be issuing a statement because it was a USA Water Polo event.

USA Water Polo CEO Christopher Ramsey said in a written statement that Morales' death "is obviously a tragic occurrence, and our hearts go out to his family. I believe we are best served waiting for the medical examination to be completed before further comment."

A Christian Morales Memorial Fund has been set up at FirstBank branches in the Coachella Valley. Those interested in donating can give the names Christian or Blanca Morales or account number 8564, or write checks to Blanca Morales, Rolph said.