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Service helps family, friends pay tribute to Solis' kindness
By John Carpenter | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 8/4/2009 5:03 PM | Updated: 8/4/2009 9:54 PM

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Originally published Jan. 17, 1993

Amid mourners in black, classmates in red Palatine High School jackets and the steady whir of news photographers' cameras, Rico Solis was laid to rest Saturday.

The last of the seven Palatine murder victims to be buried, Solis, who was 17, was remembered as a quiet but kind young immigrant whose actions spoke louder than his words, a teenager who dreamed of military service and a happiness that eluded him in his native Philippines.

"He was a good kid and he had a lot going for him," said Solis' 13-year-old cousin Phillip Laureano, in a letter read by Rico's uncle, Nick Laureano. "He really didn't ask for anything. He just wanted to be happy. He had great plans for the future but I guess now it will not be so."

Solis, 17, worked at the Brown's Chicken & Pasta Restaurant on Northwest Highway in Palatine, where he and six other people were brutally murdered late last week.

More than 150 friends and family members turned out for his funeral Saturday at St. Edna's Catholic Church in Arlington Heights, where Solis and his family attended.

"Rico's life gave something to the world," said the Rev. John Hurley. "He left the world a little better place than when he entered it."

Hurley said there was consistency in the descriptions people had of Rico in the days after his violent death.

"Nobody told me anything that Rico said. They told ms things that Rico did,'' Hurley said. "They used the word kind. Rico was kind."

Hurley said that a small plaque bearing Rico's name will be placed at the end of one of the church's pews, where Solis and his family often sat for Mass. "Lots of people will see that plaque," Hurley said. "We hope that, especially the teens who see it, will be motivated to imitate Rico."

Solis came to Palatine from the Philippines eight months ago. His mother moved here five years ago after her husband, Rico's father, was stabbed to death. After remarrying, she sent for Rico and his two younger sisters.

"This was our first Christmas together in a long time," Evelyn Orgena, Rico's mother, said after the murder. "Now it was our last."