By Paul Burton

HAVERHILL (CBS) – Veyli Ortiz fights back tears knowing this Christmas will be a lot different after the tragic death of her father, Carlos Ortiz.

“I just never imagined I would lose him at this age when he didn’t have a single grey hair or didn’t get to see me graduate and not walk me down the aisle on my wedding or watch my sisters grow up,” Ortiz said.

Investigators say on Tuesday the 41-year-old roofer fell down an elevator shaft and died at a construction project on Essex Street in Haverhill. The DA’s office is investigating the incident.

Carlos Ortiz (WBZ-TV)

“I heard it was eight stories. I know that day it was very windy but not sure if that played a part in it. I don’t know much else. There’s still a police investigation going on,” Veyli Ortiz said.

She says her father worked for more than 11 years as roofer. Most recently on Essex Street where he lost his life on the job.

Now he leaves behind his wife and three young daughters just one week before Christmas. “My mom is deeply concerned about paying for rent and providing food since dad was the provider for the family and took care of us,” Ortiz said.

Veyli Ortiz (WBZ-TV)

Family, friends and strangers are coming together to help support the family during this difficult time. A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family.

Today she decorates her Christmas tree surrounded by her extended family, something her father loved to do. “Not having his presence there I feel so empty and a hole in my chest where he used to be,” Ortiz said.

The 20-year-old junior at UMass Lowell says she will continue to get her degree in criminal justice something her father strongly supported. “And the whole reason he did what he did was for me to have that dream. And I just walk across that stage for him,” Ortiz said.

Paul Burton

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