‘Words cannot describe’: Riverside County family loses 3 of 5 members to COVID-19 within days

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A family of five from Riverside County lost three family members to COVID-19 within 10 days of one another.

John Albert Carrillo and his brother, Xavier Carrillo, laid their mother and father to rest this week, and on Friday, they’ll bury their sister.

“I lost three — not just one but three — family members,” Carrillo said.

His father, 93-year-old John Carrillo Sr., died on Sept. 15; his sister, 65-year-old Letecia Chavez, on Sept. 23; and his mother, 90-year-old Sally Carrillo, on Sept. 24.

Xavier Carrillo was the first to catch the virus back in August and believes he got it from friends at work. It quickly spread to his family.

While Xavier Carrillo recovered, members of his family were hospitalized and within weeks, they passed away.

John Carrillo says he wants people to remember his family by the lives they lived and not just as statistics.

The brothers say their father was an army veteran, the first Mexican American drafted out of Riverside to the Korean War.

They described their mother as a generous woman who loved to cook.

And their sister, who was a mother and a grandmother, worked for Riverside City College until retirement.

“Words cannot describe my sister,” John Carrillo said. “Our leader, our backbone.”

John Carrillo was able to say goodbye to his dad in person, but had bid farewell to his mother over the phone.

“I started crying and I told him, ‘If you want to leave dad, it’s okay. We’re all fine,’ ” he said in tears. “That was it.”

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