MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) — Paul Cortez remembers the night 31 years ago as if it was last week.
The Murrieta man walked into the pediatric intensive care unit of a Riverside hospital to find his 7-year-old son, Mikey, clinging to life.
The car the boy was in had been hit by a drunken driver. His older brother and three family members were dead. Doctors doubted Mikey would survive. Cortez made a promise to God: No matter what condition his son was in, his family would always be there for him.
Mikey remained in a persistent vegetative state for three decades as the promise was fulfilled. He was there as his siblings grew up and he traveled the country with them on vacations.
When he died last month, his family was at his side.