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Mother’s Despair Hinted as Reason Her 2 Boys Were Stabbed to Death

TIMES STAFF WRITER

On Friday, Diana Covarrubias seemed hopeful about the future.

The 25-year-old Monterey Park resident told her parents she and her boyfriend were planning to get back together. They were looking for a bigger apartment, she said, where they would live with their son, Jeffrey Hernandez, 2, and her son, Steven Killen, 6.

But things fell apart. The reconciliation didn’t work out. Covarrubias had been told her rent was about to go up. And the state welfare office had recently told her she would have to give up her monthly $500 Aid to Families with Dependent Children check if she attended school or got married.

All that, her parents said, was enough to drive Covarrubias to despair. Police say she killed her two children and attempted suicide Sunday afternoon.

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Covarrubias’ brother found her in her bed with the bodies of her two sons after she fatally stabbed them and used the knife on herself, said her father, Jesse, 48. She also had taken an unknown quantity of Excedrin.

Her father said that she had left a suicide note for her boyfriend on the front door of her apartment on College View Drive, telling him “to forgive her, to pray for her and not to blame himself.”

Covarrubias was taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and treated for stab wounds to the chest. Later, she was booked on suspicion of murder. On Monday, she remained in the hospital in stable to critical condition, Monterey Park Police Sgt. Orlo Olsen said.

Though Covarrubias had been depressed over her breakup with Jeffrey’s father, she never appeared on the brink of committing such a desperate act, her parents said Monday.

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Neither child’s father could not be reached for comment.

“She told me, ‘Mother, you always tell me we’re in this life because we have a purpose. What is my purpose?’ ” Maria Covarrubias, 50, said, sobbing. “I told her, ‘Your purpose is your two kids. If you love them so much, that’s your purpose.’ ”

Diana Covarrubias had become pregnant during her senior year at Alhambra High School. After she decided to keep the baby, her former boyfriend offered to marry her, Maria Covarrubias said. But the girl refused.

“If he married her, his parents wouldn’t help him with (paying for) schooling,” Maria Covarrubias said in her Monterey Park apartment, down the street from her daughter’s residence. “Diana said she didn’t want him to blame her for forcing him to marry her. She said he would hate her for it.”

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Then, a few years ago, Covarrubias met Jeffrey’s father, a technician at a Santa Monica nightclub. After awhile, he moved in with Covarrubias. Their baby was born in 1989.

But the relationship didn’t work. The boyfriend moved out of the Monterey Park apartment five months ago.

Still, Diana Covarrubias was hopeful they would reunite for the children’s sake. She also had dreams of studying child development at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park, but was told by a state welfare worker she would have to forfeit her welfare payments if she became a student.

Meanwhile, her apartment building changed ownership, and the new landlord was about to raise her rent $165, to $515 a month, her parents said.

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The Covarrubiases said their daughter was a protective, loving mother who constantly worried about her sons’ welfare. She took them on outings to the park, read to them and never left them alone, even to put out the trash or do the laundry.


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