Autopsies scheduled for Thursday are expected to determine exactly how three little girls from the South Bay were killed after their bodies were found Tuesday lying on a bed at the side of their mother.
The county coroner's office will examine the bodies of Carol Coronado's daughters, identified by relatives as Sophia, 2-1/2; Yasmine, 16 months; and Xenia, 2 months. Police said Coronado, 30, had sustained self-inflicted stab wounds and was found covered in blood.
FOR THE RECORD
May 22, 12:11 p.m.: An earlier version of this article and headline referred to the area where the girls lived as South L.A.
Coronado was treated at a hospital Tuesday night for her injuries and was to be jailed on suspicion of murder.
Detectives removed several knives from the home in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street in the unincorporated community of West Carson, in the South Bay, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.
"We still haven't established how they died," Coleman said, "but there were stab wounds," and it's unknown at this time whether there were other injuries.
Coleman said the girls' bodies were found carefully lined up across the bed. Coronado, he said, was lying perpendicular to them.
Coronado and her children had never been reported to the county Department of Children and Family Services' child abuse hot line, according to sources who have reviewed the case. Coleman said investigators were not aware of any previous incidents involving the stay-at-home mother.
Investigators will examine Coronado's medical history, especially her mental health and whether post-partum depression after the birth of Coronado's youngest daughter may have been a factor.
Coleman said Coronado briefly served in the Army more than a decade ago and left the service for medical reasons.
Those who know the family said there was no indication that anything was wrong before the killings. 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.
In a brief interview with The Times, 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.
Another relative, John Carrion, said Coronado's husband — who is also named Rudy — was "dazed and confused."
"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."