A mother who allegedly stabbed her three daughters to death at her home near Carson laid them “neatly” on a bed after they died, a detective said today.
The three girls — identified by friends as Sophia, 2½, Yasmine, 16 months and Xenia, 2 months — were likely awake when they were stabbed, sheriff’s Lt. Dave Coleman said.
“The way the injuries occurred, they weren’t sleeping,” Coleman said. “She lined them up on the bed. They were neatly placed on the bed.”
Placement of the girls’ bodies occurred after they were killed.
Autopsies were scheduled this morning on the three girls, but results have not been released. Coleman said Wednesday that the children suffered stab wounds, but the autopsies would determine if they suffered any other injuries.
The mother, Carol Coronado, 30, remained at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, where she received treatment for self-inflicted stab wounds. She suffered wounds over her body, but most were considered scratches. Her most significant wound was to the upper chest, but it was not severe enough to be considered life-threatening, detectives said.
She possibly could be released this afternoon, then will be arrested and booked into jail or the County-USC Medical Center jail ward, Coleman said.
Investigators still do not know why Coronado allegedly stabbed the children with a kitchen knife shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday at their tiny home in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street, an unincorporated area between Carson and Harbor Gateway.
Her husband, Rudy Coronado, was working on his recently purchased 1968 Chevrolet pickup truck parked across the street at the time. The husband was not aware what happened until his mother-in-law arrived at the house and he told her to go on inside. He followed her when he heard her screams.
Neighbors said the mother told her she had called her earlier to say she was going crazy.
The neighbors said they never saw any signs of trouble that would suggest Carol Coronado was capable of harming her children.
The website Mail Online quoted Rudy Coronado today as saying, “I don’t know why the hell this happened.”
“She killed my babies man, she killed my babies,” he said. “It was like a demon possessed. She was a girl with a good career ahead of her, I just don’t know why it happened. If I knew why it happened, it would answer all my questions.”
Coronado attended a vigil outside the home Wednesday night, dropping to his knees, bending over and crying before a memorial of candles, flowers and teddy bears.
Investigators confiscated other knives and a hammer from the house, but the weapon believed used to commit the killings was a kitchen knife that the children’s grandmother snatched from Carol Coronado’s hand and threw onto the driveway.
“Right now, we honestly don’t know what happened,” Coleman said.
Investigators will examine the mother’s mental state, including whether she suffered postpartum depression or was on drugs.
Coleman described the family’s home as a former workshop or “converted garage.” It opened to a common area and a kitchenette with a bedroom.