Funerals held for Raleigh children killed in storm

Posted April 20, 2011 5:10 p.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2011 10:43 p.m. EDT

— The four Raleigh children killed when Saturday's storms sent a tree crashing into a north Raleigh mobile home were remembered Wednesday at a north Raleigh church.

Police said Christina Alvarez had gathered her two children – Daniel Quistian-Nino, 9, and Yaire Quistian-Nino, 6 months – and her two nephews – Osvaldo Coronado-Nino, 8, and Kevin Uriel Coronado-Nino, 3 – into a closet and was holding the baby when the storm rocked her home in the Stony Brook North mobile home park.

The three boys were killed instantly when a large tree slammed down on the home. The baby died Tuesday of her injuries.

Funeral services for all four children were held Wednesday evening at St. Raphael Catholic Church, on Falls of Neuse Road.

"It's a devastating event, and it came so suddenly," said Father Bob Hussey of St. Raphael. "Grief often comes, as for them and all people, in waves. It just overwhelms you at times, and then you just have to take a breath. Both families are people of great faith."

Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences to the children's families, according to Bishop Michael Burbidge, who oversees the Raleigh Diocese of the Catholic Church.

"The message from the Holy Father is one of condolence, sympathy," Burbidge said. 

What started with a somber tone, quickly turned into a vibrant celebration of the lives of the four children.

"We feel a lot of peace in our hearts and we know they are with the Lord now," Alvarez said. 

The bodies of two of the children were being sent to Mexico for burial. Burial plans for the other two haven't been set.

The storm left 52 of the 200 mobile homes in Stony Brook North uninhabitable, police said. Twenty-seven of those homes were destroyed.

City officials allowed residents to return to homes that weren't seriously damaged on Tuesday afternoon. Raleigh Fire Department personnel assisted residents who needed to retrieve belongings from homes that are no longer habitable.

Officials recommended that people leave donations for the Stony Brook North residents at the emergency shelter set up at Heritage High School, on Forestville Road in Wake Forest. People can also make online donations through Catholic Charities.