By JACOB ADELMAN, The Associated Press 2:42 p.m. December 28, 2008
COVINA, Calif. —
Joseph and Alicia Ortega came from Mexico and raised a large, loving family supported by the metal painting business they started in Southern California.
The remains of that family now are in mourning, after a Christmas Eve attack on the Ortegas' home by the vengeful ex-husband of one of their daughters, Sylvia Pardo.
Bruce Pardo donned a Santa Claus outfit and killed nine members of the Ortega family during the Christmas party where the close-knit family gathered each year, before setting the home on fire. Pardo later killed himself.
"They really were a great family," said Jose Castillo, Sylvia Pardo's brother-in-law from an earlier marriage, who came to pay his respects Sunday at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac where the Ortega's two-story home once stood. "They used to be together all the time."
Joseph Ortega, 80, and Alicia, 70, had retired some 10 years ago from their business painting metal furniture and other items in the nearby city of El Monte.
The couple immigrated to the United States shortly after their marriage 53 years ago in the north-central Mexican city of Torreon, that city's newspaper, El Siglo de Torreon, reported Saturday.
The family is well-known in the city, where Alicia's sisters are prominent businesspeople, the newspaper's editorial director Javier Garza told the Los Angeles Times.
Sylvia Pardo, 43, had been living at her parents' home since her divorce from Bruce Pardo, a 45-year-old electrical engineer, about a year ago, Castillo said.
Her earlier marriage with Jose Castillo's brother, Sabino Castillo, ended with Sabino's death in a traffic accident about 20 years ago, when she was pregnant with their oldest of two children.
The 21-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son had escaped unharmed form the Christmas Eve party where Bruce Pardo opened fire.
The slaughter came six days after Bruce and Sylvia Pardo appeared in court to finalize their divorce.
Police believe the dead included Sylvia Pardo's two brothers and their wives, her sister and a 17-year-old nephew, as well has her and her parents.
Police listed the victims as unaccounted for because coroner's officials said the nine bodies were too badly charred for immediate identification.
Bruce Pardo had planned to flee to Canada following the killing spree but suffered third-degree burns in the fire – which melted part of the Santa suit to him – and decided to kill himself instead, investigators said. His body, with a bullet wound to the head, was found at his brother's home about 40 miles away.
The rented compact car he had driven to his former in-laws house was rigged to set off 500 rounds of ammunition and later exploded outside his brother's home. No one was injured.
Police also found a second car rented by Pardo late Saturday, but a bomb squad did not find any explosives in that vehicle. Investigators did find a canister of gasoline, water bottles, wrapped Christmas presents, two computers, and a map of Mexico, police said.
On Sunday, a stream of visitors drove by to look at the blackened heap of twisted metal and shards of timber that were the remaining pieces of the family home. Others like Tony and Ira Salas, who were close friends with both of Sylvia Pardo's brothers, lay another bouquet on the makeshift shrine of flowers, burning votive candles and stuffed animals on the adjacent curbside.
"They were a very close and loving family," said Tony Salas, as Ira wept.
Christmas Eve attack shattered close-knit family
X-Rays Needed to ID Victims in "Santa" Killer Case - KNBC-TV- msnbc.com
My Two cents...
Anyone that has been inside the family part division of either the family court or a matrional part knows why I bolded the sentance in the above article like I did.
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