EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) --This fourth of July will be spent in mourning for one El Paso family.
Ruben Aguayo and his wife are on a quest to get the proper recognition for their son, who was brutally murdered in 2021.
31-year-old Luis Angel Aguayo spent eight years in the Navy special forces as an anti-terrorism sniper and K-9 expert both in Iran and Afghanistan.
He was shot in Afghanistan, spent 8 months in a psychiatric ward as a result of his injuries, and was honorably discharged.
"He was my Hero," said his father, Ruben Aguayo.
After being released from the hospital, the veteran returned to El Paso, but he wanted to share his K-9 skills with Mexican law enforcement officials in Morelos, Mexico.
That's when something went horribly wrong. On September 25th, 2021, he phoned his parents late at night from Morelos to tell them he loved them.
His father noticed something in his son's voice.
Two minutes later, a woman called to say their son was dead. Aguayo had been shot six times in the back.
"We thought he had already been shot the very same moment he called us," said Aguayo.
In his final moments, their son had the presence of mind to share the location where he lay dying. The entire family panicked.
Despite his anguish and confusion, Aguayo reached out to the American embassy in Morelos, who provided few answers.
He turned to Congresswoman Veronica Escobar's office for help. He says they too provided few answers.
He did, however, receive a phone call from a worker within the embassy telling him he needed to pick up his sons body because it was beginning to decay, and that unless he did, his son's body would be buried in a public cemetery.
For a fee, that person was able to get his son's body to funeral home in Juarez, then later to El Paso. 20 days later, his son arrived back home to a hero's welcome with firefighters, law enforcement, and hundreds more telling the father why they wanted to pay tribute to his son.
"This this was a hero's funeral and they wanted to be there. Of course I said yes."
But a father's tribute to his son did not end there.
He reached out to the Veteran's Administration to make sure his son received the recognition, five bronze stars.
But the father is still not done.
Now he is working to make sure his son also receives a purple heart.
Aguayo says he wants all the accolades and medals, not for himself, but for the daughter the decorated veteran left behind.
Both Aguayo and his wife remain mentally distraught. Just recently, two broken-hearted parents received unexpected news. Their youngest son, a marine, will leave for Japan in October.
ABC-7 reached out to Congresswoman Escobar's office to find out what their involvement was in helping claim and return Aguayo's body to his parents. We have not heard back.
Aguayo continues looking for answers to key questions, chief among them, why his son was shot and killed.