Mom accused of killing 3 girls found bloodied near bodies, officials say

The woman arrested on suspicion of killing her three young daughters Tuesday night in their home near Torrance was "covered with blood" when a relative found her lying on a bed near the small bodies, investigators said.

There was evidence to suggest Carol Coronado used a knife in the attack, but it was not clear what other injuries the children -- who were between the ages of 2 months and 3 years old -- might have sustained, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.


"There was evidence of stab wounds," Coleman told The Times on Wednesday. "We still haven't established how they died exactly yet. But there were stab wounds."

Coroner's officials said autopsies were scheduled to be performed Thursday.

Coronado, 30, was detained Tuesday after the bodies of her children were discovered in their home in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street in an unincorporated neighborhood near Torrance around 5:20 p.m., sheriff's officials said.

Coronado was barely clothed and had self-inflicted wounds, Coleman said; she was taken to a hospital. She was later arrested on suspicion of murder.

She remained in the hospital Wednesday morning.

Investigators are still trying to determine what happened, Coleman said. He said detectives were not aware of any prior incidents involving Coronado, but would examine whether she suffered any postpartum depression after her youngest daughter was born.

"We still haven't determined a reason," Coleman said, adding Coronado hasn't said "anything" to detectives.

Coronado served in the military as a young woman, Coleman said, but left after a short stint because of medical reasons.

The father and grandmother of the girls were home when deputies arrived, Coleman said. It was the grandmother who called 911.

Several television trucks were parked outside the home Wednesday morning. Toys were scattered alongside the small, white house — toy wagons, a plastic picnic table, a stroller. A swing hung from a nearby tree.

The father of the girls arrived with a relative at the house, shooing reporters away from the driveway and later setting up a tarp to block their view. Later, the relative walked out of the house with the man.

He cried, covering his face with a blue cloth as he made his way to a car.

Times staff writers Nicole Santa Cruz and Joseph Serna contributed to this report.