A Los Angeles couple died from coronavirus complications one day apart, leaving behind five young children that will be cared for by their stepsister. “Within six days of them being admitted, I lost my father. And within eight hours, I lost my stepmother. And now, I have five kids," 35-year-old stepsister Maria Ruelas told KTLA.
Ruelas said her stepmother, 38-year-old Karina Bonilla, most likely contracted COVID-19 first while working for a fruit vendor. She started presenting symptoms “and then my father started getting sick,” she recalled.
Her dad, 60-year-old Humberto Ruelas-Rivas, died last Sunday. Bonilla died the following day.
Ruelas said she wasn’t even able to say goodbye. “It’s devastating,” she said. “That virus took my family away.”
She gained custody of their 5 children, aged 2 to 17, and must also now take care of her 30-year-old sister, who is reportedly hospitalized and suffered a stroke related to the coronavirus.
Ruelas has no children of her own and is engaged to be married.
“I’m happy to do it in the memory of my father,” she said.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for their family and has fundraised nearly $90,000 for the family a week after Ruelas-Rivas and Bonilla's death.