She’s also been charged with the attempted murder of her mother. Authorities say Coronado attacked her mother when she confronted her.
Carol Coronado was still hospitalized Thursday 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’s scheduled to be taken into the hospital jail ward.
The Crime Scene
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was called around 5.10 pm Tuesday when they responded to the 1000 block of West 23rd Street.
Carol Coronado’s husband, Rudy, was outside working on his pick-up truck parked across the street from their home. When his mother-in-law, Julie Piercey, arrived about 5 p.m, he told her to go ahead and go inside.
Moments later Julie Piercey ran out of the small, white house, with a bloody knife in her hand. She screamed at her son-in-law and frantically began dialling her cellphone.
“She killed the babies,” she said.
Julie made a horrifying discovery, when she found the children’s lifeless bodies inside the house.
Carol Coronado allegedly turned the knife on Ms Piercey when she confronted Coronado. Piercey grabbed the kitchen knife from the mother’s hand.
Moments later, Rudy rushed inside when he heard her screams of “Oh my God!”
He screamed when he saw the bloody scene inside his home.
“He kept saying, ‘Oh my God, Oh my god,’ ” neighbor Veronica Ruiz said.
Neighbors watched as deputies escorted her from the house, handcuffed and wrapped in a blanket.
“She had a zoned-out look and was just looking down,” Ashley Madrid, 27, said. “She had dry blood smeared on her face and legs.”
Carol Ann Coronado, 30, was charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted murder Friday. The attempted murder charge stems from Coronado attacking her own mother, Julie Piercey.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.
It is unclear whether prosecutors would seek the Death Penalty.
Autopsies conducted Thursday confirmed the children suffered stab wounds, but it was unclear whether they also suffered head trauma. The results were not disclosed. A hammer and other knives were confiscated from the home to examine as potential evidence.
“The way the injuries occurred, they weren’t sleeping,” sheriff’s homicide Lt. Dave 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”, he said.
Carol’s husband Rudy Coronado told a reporter that she must have been possessed by a demon.
Their godfather, John Carrion, also said a demon was inside Coronado the day that the girls died.
“Pray for that woman. She had a demon inside her that day.”
He says he never saw Carol upset or angry:
“I don’t know how I feel about the woman right now. I don’t understand what was going on in that woman’s head.”
Carrion says the father is too overcome with grief to talk with anyone and Rudy is “dazed and confused.”
The godfather goes on to say: “Right now, he’s giving her the benefit of doubt. He just said he didn’t believe he saw Carol — he saw a demon inside her. He said he doesn’t blame Carol. He blames the … demon.”
Sandra Coronado, Rudy’s sister told the media “He says that there’s something in her that he didn’t see. Something in her eyes. I don’t know.”
“Never in a million years would I have thought anything like this,” the sister-in-law said.
Sandra Coronado said she never saw any demons inside her sister-in-law, but thought she lacked a “mother’s instinct.”
“Personally, I don’t have my kids spend the night nowhere,” she said. “Her, it was like, ‘Fine, go ahead and take them.’ She would let my cousin take them for like a week. She would keep the baby. She would say she was tired. She had to do homework. She had to clean house.”
Carol Coronado, who was taking classes on the Internet, stayed at home with the children while her husband went out early each day to sell car parts at the Alpine Village swap meets.
She kept a cluttered home, which triggered some discord with her husband.
“I believe that was their main issue,” the sister-in-law said. “My brother wanted the house clean for his girls. He wanted to come home to a home-cooked meal.”
Carol Coronado, then Carol Piercey, met her husband in their Carson-area neighborhood. They married in 2011 near the Korean Bell in Angels Gate Park in San Pedro.
“It was beautiful,” the sister-in-law said. “My kids were the ring bearers.”
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.
Coronado’s father-in-law said she was “trying to go to school and take care of the kids.”
“It’s real bad,” Rudy Coronado, 67, said. Carol Coronado’s husband is also called Rudy.
“Right now, he’s giving her the benefit of doubt,” Carrion said. “He just said he didn’t believe he saw Carol — he saw a demon inside her. He said he doesn’t blame Carol. He blames the … demon.”
Carrion declined to speak further about the children’s’ mother, saying only that he had never seen her angry.
“I don’t know how I feel about the woman right now,” he said. “I don’t understand what was going on in that woman’s head.”
How the day unfolded
Earlier in the day, Carol called her mother in the morning saying she felt like she was “going crazy”.
Sandra Coronado said she placed the call to her sister-in-law about 9am Tuesday, she didn’t question why, but made the call.
According to Sandra “All she said was, ‘You need to call Carol. I’m at work. I can’t talk to her right now,’ ” the sister-in law said. “If (Carol) told her that she was going crazy, she should have told me that. She never even mentioned that. If she would have told me that, things would have been different.”
Carol Coronado told Sandra she was tired and exhausted and planned to take her second oldest daughter to the doctor on the day. Sandra offered to take care of the other two girls while Carol was out.
“She was sobbing, she was crying. And she said she was tired and exhausted. … I told her, ‘Take her to the appointment and bring me the girls.’ ”
Sandra Coronado said she heard her nieces crying in the background, but didn’t think anything of it. A mother herself, she knows children often cry when a parent is on the telephone.
Behind the crime
Carol Coronado had never been reported to the Department of Children and Family Services. Investigators are looking into whether she might have been on drugs or suffering from postpartum depression. Mental health experts can’t comment on the specifics of the case, because there is still so little information. But Phillip Resnick, the director of forensic psychiatry at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told the media that it can be difficult for women suffering from postpartum depression or mental health issues to get help: “A woman may be so ashamed she won’t reveal problems to a doctor. They won’t reveal thoughts of killing their children, because they’re fearful a social worker will take their children away.”
Carol Coronado served in the Army for a short time over 10 years ago and had to leave because of medical reasons. She was taking online classes while staying home with the kids.
Relatives said that the couple fought about housekeeping. Carol would ask relatives to watch her girls from time-to-time, so she could clean the house and do homework. Sandra Coronado told the media, “My brother wanted the house clean for his girls. He wanted to come home to a home-cooked meal.”
Those who know the family said there was no indication that anything was wrong. Coronado often took the girls on walks up and down the street, a neighbor said. Her Facebook page featured several photos of the girls, including an ultrasound photo.
Funeral, Vigil and Fundraising
Outside the home, relatives assembled a small memorial of flowers, candles and teddy bears. On Wednesday evening, several dozen people attended a vigil for the slain girls, including their father. Surrounded by relatives and friends, he cried and rubbed the photos of his three daughters.
The girls, Carrion said, were energetic and loved the Disney movie “Frozen.” There were plans for a baptism this fall.
“They were the most beautiful babies you had ever seen,” he said. “They loved their daddy and he loved them. Pray for my babies, please, pray for my babies. Pray for Rudy. And even pray for that woman.”
Family members spent the afternoon Thursday making funeral arrangements for the girls and planning fundraisers to pay for the services. A distraught Rudy Coronado cried when he signed papers at the funeral home.
Money also was an issue for the young couple. Faced with funeral expenses, family members have scheduled car washes and bake sales to raise funds Saturday and Sunday at Henry’s Market at Avalon Boulevard and 184th Street. A car show, and fundraisers at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, Alpine Village near Carson, and Buffalo Wild Wings are also in the works. And an online fundraiser was established on Gofundme.com under the title “Our 3 little angels.”