Family of mother and 6-year-old killed in Baldwin Park speaks out
Erika Gonzalez didn’t know what to put on top of her grandson’s birthday cake.
When Angel was younger, he liked “PAW Patrol.” But he wanted something different for his sixth birthday on May 21.
“When we asked him, he said, ‘I want a Ferrari,’” said Angel’s aunt, Maria Velazquez.
The Italian sports car company’s horse logo went on a tres leches cake.
Two weeks later, Angel and his mother, Yesli Velazquez Gonzalez, were shot to death at their Baldwin Park home. Police found their bodies in the backyard.
The June 5 shootings were connected to a domestic dispute, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Gonzalez, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Angel died later at a hospital.
“He was my grandson, but he was like my son,” Erika Gonzalez said, sobbing over the phone on Friday.
She believes her daughter’s boyfriend, Rigoberto Covarrubias, killed them.
Covarrubias, 36, is wanted as a person of interest in the homicide investigation and is considered armed and dangerous. Authorities believe he fled to Mexico.
Yesli Velazquez Gonzalez and her son lived with Covarrubias for over a year, according to Maria Velazquez.
Velazquez thinks her sister was in an abusive relationship, sometimes showing up to family events with bruises or other injuries that she could not fully explain away.
Covarrubias was possessive and kept her and Angel on a short leash, according to Erika Gonzalez. He shared few details about himself or his own family in Texas. He was guarded, jealous and refused to let Angel visit unless he was present, Gonzalez said.
“He kept them away from us. He didn’t want us to see them,” she said.
Angel, whom she often spoiled, was “the baby of the house,” Gonzalez said. “We just want there to be justice for them.”
Yesli Velazquez Gonzalez worked as an intervention aide at Geddes Elementary School in Baldwin Park. She had a maternal warmth that drew students to her, said a teacher, Claudia Barba.
“She was a quick learner. She just captured everything so quickly,” Barba said. “She was quiet and patient, and she was so loving. The children really responded so well to her.”
The two would often go out for lunch and talk about their lives. Gonzalez shared few details about Covarrubias, instead talking about her son and sharing pictures of him smiling.
Maria Velazquez said her nephew and sister were inseparable.
“They were always together and always had a smile on their faces,” she said. “They were loved by everyone.”
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