Four children – two girls, ages 14 and 12, and two boys, ages 8 and 1 – were left orphaned after both of their parents died in separate tragedies in the same week.
First, the kids’ mother, Anna L. Santana, 34, of Moreno Valley, California, was killed on July 6 in the ice cave collapse at Big Four Ice Caves, located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, east of Seattle, the Associated Press reports.
Six days later, the children’s father, Adrian Martinez Cardona, 35, was shot to death outside a San Bernardino bar Sunday night after getting into an argument.
The two parents were estranged at the time of their deaths.
“This is just a complete tragedy, and we’re focusing on the children,” said Brian Keith, Cardona’s brother-in-law. “That’s what’s important, the children.”
In addition to Santana, five other people were hurt in the collapse. Authorities had put up signs saying the caves were dangerous because of the unseasonably warm weather. Temperatures that Monday were in the 80s.
Santana’s brother David was one of those injured in the collapse. He remained in critical condition with a head injury as of Monday, The Press-Enterprise reports. One of Santana’s children also suffered an ankle injury.
Cardona had spoken with his children daily since their mother’s death, but he was unable to visit them because he had just been released from jail. On June 9, he was sentenced to 24 days in jail for violating his parole.
Court records show that he had previously been convicted on numerous charges, including possession of an assault weapon, driving under the influence and battery on a spouse or co-habitant, among others.
But friends insist he was a good dad. “He loved his kids,” pal Rachelle Randle told The Press-Enterprise. “This is a nightmare.”
As of Monday afternoon, no one had been arrested in connection with the shooting.