published Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

California mom in custody after 3 daughters killed

Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies block off the scene of a triple homicide Tuesday that occurred in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles, Calif.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies block off the scene of a triple homicide Tuesday that occurred in the unincorporated area of Los Angeles, Calif.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

TORRANCE, Calif. — A grandmother arrived at a dilapidated home on a busy Southern California street to visit her daughter and three grandchildren, only to find the girls' small, blood-covered bodies neatly arranged on a bed.

Neighbors and authorities say the woman frantically ran outside, throwing a bloody knife to the ground and told the girls' father, who was working on a car, that his wife had gone crazy and killed all the kids. Then she called 911.

"'Oh my God, oh my God,'" he screamed after learning his daughters were dead, said next-door neighbor Veronica Ruiz, who watched the aftermath unfold.

Authorities said 30-year-old Carol Coronado remained hospitalized and in custody Wednesday after being taken from the grisly scene Tuesday afternoon covered in blood and naked under a blanket, with multiple self-inflicted stab and slice wounds.

She's expected to be arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of her daughters, who were 2 years, 16 months and 2 months old, after she is released from the hospital, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman said.

"The babies were on the bed," Coleman said. "And not in a haphazard fashion, they were placed on the bed, so how and where they were killed, we're going to have to figure that out."

Investigators were reviewing Coronado's medical records and her service in the military. She joined the Army after high school but only spent a few months in the service before being released due to an injury, Coleman said.

Multiple knives were taken from the scene, including the knife the grandmother threw on the ground, which was believed to be the one used to stab the girls to death.

Authorities said the grandmother, whose name was not released by authorities, had come to the home near Torrance to visit after receiving a call from her daughter. Coleman said detectives believe the stabbings likely occurred just before the grandmother arrived to visit.

Coleman said investigators don't believe there were prior calls for deputies to visit the home, but he stressed that it was still early in the investigation.

On Wednesday, the home in the working class neighborhood was quiet except for reporters and photographers who crowded the fenced-off area to get a look at a yard piled high with junk and a small residence that appeared to be a converted garage or shed, with a red and green "Seasons Greetings" sign hanging from it.

Ruiz's son, 15-year-old Jesus Renteria, said the grandmother told him and his mother that Coronado was overwhelmed.

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