Family and friends hold series of emotional tributes for Houston mom Erica Hernandez

PEARLAND, Texas (KTRK) -- A prayer and vigil ceremony was held in honor of Houston mother of three, Erica Hernandez, who was missing for 22 days before she was found.

Family, friends, and supporters gathered around the pond in Pearland's Shadow Creek Ranch Neighborhood where Hernandez was found in her submerged vehicle on Tuesday, just two days after Mother's Day.

SEE ALSO: Body found in SUV in Pearland pond confirmed to be missing mom Erica Hernandez
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Here's where police stand in the investigation into Erica Hernandez's death after her body was confirmed to be inside the vehicle pulled from a Pearland pond.

"It's still not real to us, you know," her sister Ashley Hernandez said. "I don't know how long it will take for us to really realize it, but it's not real."

A cross and tribute sits at the base of one of the nearby trees.

Hernandez's church, New Hope, led the prayer services on Sunday afternoon.

Hernandez leaves behind her three children, ages 19, 16 and three. The children held an emotional wreath ceremony and led a balloon release during Sunday's vigil.

"She was the kind of mom to do everything and anything that she could for her kids. She would always put us first, as any mother would," Hernandez's daughter Briza Armenta said. "She really made sure she took care of us, and we're really going to miss that about her."

Pearland police are now lead on the investigation.

Hernandez, 40, was last seen leaving her friend's house in southwest Houston around 2:30 a.m. on April 18.

According to her family, Hernandez sent a text message to her friend about 30 minutes later saying she was "five minutes away from getting home," but never made it.

The pond where she was found is 11 miles or about 20 minutes out of the way of her route. Police have not released any new details regarding the case.

Hernandez's family said they are going to push forward and continue to demand answers.

Her sister thanked the community and loved ones who worked tirelessly to help find Erica.

"Anyone that had a thought, a prayer, a donation, anything good to say. I appreciate everybody and everything, and I know we all do too," Ashley said. "We couldn't have gotten so far without all of that, without the community."

The family is going to keep the GoFundMe page to help raise money for funeral expenses and to support her children.

Family also said funeral arrangements are being made for the following week, but specific details have not been released yet.

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