LA parents both die of coronavirus, leaving five children orphaned
A South Los Angeles couple died one day apart from each other after being diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.
Humberto Ruelas-Rivas, 60, died on Sunday, just before his 38-year-old wife Karina Bonilla died Monday.
“Within six days, I lost my father. And within eight hours, I lost my stepmother. And now I have five kids,” said Ruelas-Rivas’ daughter, Maria Ruelas of Downey.
Ruelas, 35, is now taking care of her five young siblings, ages 2 to 17, as well as her 30-year-old sister who was hospitalized with coronavirus and meanwhile had a stroke.
“It’s gonna be a struggle. I don’t have children of my own and now I know maybe this is the reason why,” Ruelas said.
Ruelas believes her stepmother contracted coronavirus from the fruit vendor she worked for, who showed symptoms but opted not to self-isolate.
“She went to work and in less than a week she started presenting symptoms,” Ruelas told the station. “She went home and then my father started getting sick.”
Ruelas told KTLA she could never say her last goodbyes to her father.
“Even though they’re deceased, the virus is still active in their bodies so you can’t touch the body,” she said. “I hope this story doesn’t repeat again. It’s devastating.”
Ruelas, who is now engaged, told the station she’s trying to gain legal custody of her siblings — and is “happy to do it in the memory of my father.”
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She is also caring for her 30-year-old sister who is hospitalized with the coronavirus and suffered a stroke.
“It’s gonna be a struggle,” Ruelas told the station. “I don’t have children of my own and now I know maybe this is the reason why.”