Thousands pack church for children's funeral

Cristina Alvarez
April 19, 2011 9:00:00 PM PDT
Thousands of people packed Saint Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church Wednesday evening to remember the lives of four children who were killed when a tree from Saturday's tornado split their house in half.

Authorities say the tree killed 6-month-old Yaide Quistian Nino and her 9-year-old brother Daniel Quistian-Nino. It also killed two of their cousins, 8-year-old Oswaldo Coronado-Nino and 3-year-old Kevin Uriel Coronado-Nino.

The 6-month-old died Tuesday from her injuries.

"Thank you to everybody for all the support," Cristina Alvarez, mother of Yaide and Daniel, said.

Support through prayers and donations are the reason why Alvarez says she was able to stand and speak for the first time about the tragic loss of her children.

Alvarez's sister, Maria Nino Alvarez, also thanked everyone. She is the mother of Oswaldo and Kevin.

Traditional sounds from the family's Mexican home state of Guanjuato greeted the family that was dressed in white, as they made their way out of the church.

The mothers were surrounded by grieving family members holding on to each other and pictures of the young lives lost. It's a loss Maria hopes will help raise awareness about the dangers of storms.

"We know they are with the Lord now," Cristina said.

The children were moved to a closet by an adult in the home in Raleigh's Stony Brook North mobile home park, but it wasn't enough to protect them. Police said Cristina did everything she was supposed to.

According to police, she was knocked unconscious momentarily and when she awakened, she was still holding her baby.

The family is finding comfort in their faith. Their story has received national attention. ABC11 Eyewitness News learned Wednesday that Pope Benedict the XVI is praying for the family and other storm victims in our state.

Catholic Charities is assisting all of the Stony Brook families that have been displaced. For more information on how to contribute to the charity, click here. The American Red Cross also is accepting donations for the neighborhood. For information about how to make a Red Cross donation, click here.

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