GOODHUE COUNTY, Minn. (KMSP) - A woman who was recently reunited with her birth family died in a crash on Tuesday night. Marisa Bocanegra was riding in a van driven by her 15-year-old daughter when a semi hit their vehicle.
Bocanegra’s daughter was seriously injured and transported to St. Mary’s in Rochester, Minnesota.
According to the State Patrol, the van was stopped at a stop sign on County Road 11 and attempted to cross Highway 57 when the semi struck the van.
The driver of the semi was not injured.
"[Marisa] was so special," Juan Pablo, Marisa's brother, told Fox 9. "We never thought she was going to be gone so quick."
Bocanegra was born in Bogota, Colombia, and taken from her mother and sold to an adoption agency in Colombia. She was adopted by a family in Burnsville, Minnesota, when she was six weeks old.
On Wednesday night, Marisa and her birth mother were supposed to share their story and make a Colombian dinner at the Nueva Jerusalem Church in Faribault.
Family friends say they still plan to hold the dinner.
"We are still doing it because that's what Marisa would have wanted," Rosibel Tobar, one of Marisa's friends, said. "She wanted to share [their] story so there is hope for other families who are facing the same thing."
In 2014, Fox 9’s Maury Glover caught up with Bocanegra when she and her mother used Skype to connect for the first time.
She told Fox 9 she tracked down her birth mother by using social media and joined a Facebook group called “Adopted in Colombia.” She was eventually connected with a private investigator who found her mother in Bogota, Colombia.
GoMN was at the airport when Bocanegra met her mother in person for the first time earlier this month.
"I came full of hugs and kisses for my little baby and now I have to head back to Colombia with empty arms," Marisa's birth mother, Elsy Bocanegra, told Fox 9 on Wednesday.
On Monday, Bocanegra posted to Facebook that her mother and brother met her adoptive parents.