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Family, friends seek comfort at vigil for three slain girls

Three young girls allegedly killed by mother remembered at vigil

Several dozen people gathered Wednesday evening for a vigil outside the unincorporated neighborhood near Torrance where three young girls were slain the day before, a crime authorities say was committed by their mother.

Among those attending was their father, Rudy Coronado. Weeping, he dropped to his knees in front of a wooden pallet at the end of his dirt and rock driveway.

Flowers, candles, teddy bears and small sympathy cards written by children had been placed on the pallet at the wooden house in the 1000 block of West 223rd Street, not far from the 110 Freeway. There was also a Dr. Seuss book.

Surrounded by family and friends, Coronado cried and used his thumbs to rub the photos of his three daughters. Amid prayers and chants, Coronado dropped his head to the ground and wept louder. Relatives rubbed his back and his head.

Some mourners joined him in bowing their heads to the ground. Others just stood and cried softly.

Ice cream trucks muted their songs as they passed by.

"This is an incredible, saddening thing," said Ismael Bañuelos, 55, who came out to support the family. "What a travesty."

Bañuelos said he learned about the vigil from other vendors at the Alpine Village, where Rudy Coronado sells motor oil and tires.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said deputies responded to the Coronado home shortly after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, where they found Carol Coronado, 30, "covered with blood" next to the girls' bodies on a bed. The girls' grandmother had discovered the scene.

Coronado also had self-inflicted stab wounds, said sheriff's Lt. Dave Coleman.

There was evidence to suggest Coronado used a knife in the attack, Coleman said, but it was unclear what other injuries the children might have suffered.

Coroner's officials said autopsies were scheduled to be performed Thursday. Family members identified the girls as Sophia, 2 1/2 years old; Yazmine, 1 year; and Xenia, who was 2 months old.

Some at the vigil were conflicted about the tragic deaths.

"You find yourself confused over this because you don't know if she was sick or what," said Alejandria Gonzalez, 65, of Long Beach. "All you can do is lament for the family."

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