Stepsister Cares for 5 Siblings After Parents Die of Coronavirus One Day Apart

June 11, 2020

    Five children have been left in the care of their stepsister after their parents died one day apart of coronavirus.

    The California couple were Humberto Ruelas-Rivas, 60, who died on Sunday, and his 38-year-old wife, Karina Bonilla, who died the next day, according to KTLA.

    Maria Ruelas, Ruelas-Rivas’ 35-year-old daughter, has now assumed care of her five step-siblings, who are between the ages of 2 and 17.

    Ruelas is also taking care of her 30-year-old sister, who was hospitalized with coronavirus and had a stroke.

    “Within six days, I lost my father. And within eight hours, I lost my stepmother. And now I have five kids,” Ruelas told the outlet.

    According to Ruelas, her stepmother first contracted the virus, likely from going to her job.

    “She went to work, and in less than a week, she started presenting symptoms,” Ruelas said. “She went home, and then my father started getting sick.”

    The situation has been “devastating” for Ruelas, who was unable to hug or say goodbye to her father in person.

    “Even though they’re deceased, the virus is still active in their bodies, so you can’t touch the body,” Ruelas said.

    Ruelas is currently engaged to be married, but she is making new plans in light of the death of her father and his wife. She says she is trying to get legal custody of her siblings.

    “It’s gonna be a struggle,” she told KTLA. “I don’t have children of my own, and now I know maybe this is the reason why.”

    But she remains hopeful: “I’m happy to do it in the memory of my father.”

    To cover funeral expenses and medical bills, the family has started a GoFundMe page.

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