MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A family in California is grieving after a 21-year-old man died while spending time with friends in an abandoned building in Miami-Dade County.
Adrian Valenzuela fell to his death on Monday from an 11-story building in Miami Gardens. His sister Paulina Valenzuela said he had just moved from Victorville, California, to work in Fort Lauderdale.
“We are a family from Victorville with limited resources,” the grieving mother wrote in Spanish. “My son went to work in Florida. Due to fate, my son died falling from a building in total abandonment. He stumbled from the top and fell since there was no support to go up and down.”
Paulina Valenzuela said her brother was with three friends. For years, the empty building near the Golden Glades has been popular among local graffiti writers. She said his friends told her he walked away to make a phone call before they heard “a loud noise, a loud bang.”
The 136,190-square-foot building is the former home of the Parkway West Medical Center The hospital closed in 2002 and went into foreclosure auction in 2016. Miami-Dade property records list the owner as BSD of Miami Gardens LLC. Miami Gardens code enforcement officers are familiar with the dangers of the decrepit structure.
Paulina Valenzuela said her brother was like a son to her and getting the call from the detective with the news was heartbreaking.
“His phone landed on one floor. His flip flops on another floor and his body on another floor ... He was so far away from us," she said, adding “We just want to bring him home and we’re doing what we can.”