Local mother warns others after Truckee River tragedy

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - "She had a good heart. She cared about people. She would give her last for anybody. Anybody," says Barbara Ponsock, as she remembers her youngest daughter, Amber Aguilera.


Aguilera, 28, was a devoted mom to four young kids, ages 6 to 11. Last month, she fell victim to the Truckee River.

On April 18, crews dove into the water near Glendale Park to rescue Aguilera. The powerful waves made it especially difficult.

"Because of the current, she just kept slipping away," says Ponsock. "And they really couldn't get a grip on her. When they pulled her out, she had no pulse. They had to revive her. It took them four minutes to bring her back."

Aguilera spent a month in the Intensive Care Unit of Renown before her family decided to take her off of life support. Her funeral service was on Friday. Ponsock says it hasn't been easy for Aguilera's children.

"They miss their mom," says Ponsock. "They want their mom, but she's gone."

Ponsock is hoping other families won't have to go through the same thing. She knows there are warning signs out by the river, but she feels they don't capture the reality of what can happen when you're caught in the current. Officials have been warning all season that the water in the river is higher, colder, and more dangerous than in recent years.

"From a mother to another mother, this river can take a life in a second," says Ponsock. "It only takes four minutes without oxygen to the brain. Keep your loved ones close, if you decide to come to the river. Just be safe."

Ponsock still has questions about how her daughter ended up in the river. She's heard rumors Aguilera was pushed into the water. The Reno Police Department is investigating. Ponsock is asking anyone who may have seen anything at Glendale Park that day, to call police to help in the investigation.

A gofundme account has also been set up for the family. Initially, it was to raise money for funeral expenses, but any donations now will go towards Aguilera's children. If you're interested in donating, head here: