The funeral home has been a pioneer in muerto parado, or “standing dead,” services since 2008. That year it hosted its first nontraditional funeral. At the request of the family, it tethered the body of 24-year-old Ángel Luis “Pedrito” Pantojas, another murder victim in Puerto Rico, to the family’s living room.
“When he died, the family told us they would like him to be standing up,” Damaris Marin, the home’s director, told BuzzFeed News. “We thought that it was a joke. Then his mom came to the funeral home and we realized it was serious.”
He liked playing basketball and worked at a restaurant in a tourist neighborhood in Isla Verde.
“Everyone in his neighborhood loved him,” she said. “Everyone remembered him.”
The family was devastated when Beato, as he was known to friends and neighbors, was murdered on March 3.
He was seated on a chair from his mother’s home. Díaz Beato said her mother kept the chair covered in plastic and refused to let Beato sit on the chair, despite his many attempts.
“Oh my god,” he would protest. “I’ll only be able to use it when I die.”
Beato could always be seen with a cigar and black cap. His khakis and tennis shoes were brand new.
“That was his way of being,” said Díaz Beato.
The funeral home kept his eyes open as a surprise for the family.