Five children orphaned after parents die

A Los Angeles mum and dad died of the coronavirus just one day apart – leaving behind five underage kids.

Karina Bonilla, 38, died on Monday, and her 60-year-old husband Humberto Ruelas-Rivas passed away a day earlier, KTLA reported.

They left behind five children, aged between two and 17, as well as Ruelas-Rivas’ two adult daughters from a previous relationship.

“Within six days, I lost my father,” said Ruelas-Rivas’ daughter, Maria Ruelas, 35. “And within eight hours, I lost my stepmother. And now I have five kids.”

Ms Ruelas’ 30-year-old sister is also currently hospitalised with coronavirus and has suffered a stroke.

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Ms 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,” Ms Ruelas told the station. “She went home and then my father started getting sick.”

Ms Ruelas told KTLA she couldn’t 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.”

Source – World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media

Ruelas 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”.

“It’s gonna be a struggle,” Ms Ruelas told the station.

“I don’t have children of my own and now I know maybe this is the reason why.”

This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission

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