Reporting Peter D’Oench
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) – The estranged husband of a woman found dead in her home along side the bodies of her two daughters has been questioned by police.
The bodies of Gladys Machado, 29, and daughters, ages 4 and 8, were discovered by a neighbor Tuesday in a closet of a home at Northwest 4th Street and 73rd Avenue.
Police say Machado’s husband, 28-year-old Alberto Sierra, voluntarily spoke with detectives. He was questioned and released.
No charges have been filed in this case.
CBS4′s Peter D’Oench spoke with Sierra’s mother, who told him, “My son is a good person. And he is innocent.”
CBS4 has also obtained court documents in which the childrens’ biological father told a judge during a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife Gladys Machado that he worried about his childrens’ safety.
In a letter to the judge, he said he felt his childrens’ lives were in danger because they were living with Sierra and because there were reports that Sierra was violent. He noted one of his daughters had told a state child welfare investigator that Sierra had bitten her on the arm.
But the judge denied the biological father’s request for full custody, noting that the Department of Children and Families had returned the children to Machado’s home after an investigation.
CBS4 reached out to Padrino but he declined to comment.
Sierra was accused of domestic battery against Machado in 2010, the year before they were married.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, Sierra was arrested after Machado said he bit her on the left forearm and took off with her gun. She later claimed she found her gun and said it was not stolen, the Herald said.
Two months later, the newspaper said Sierra was arrested and charged with possessing 79 grams of ecstasy. He also reportedly had a 9 mm Smith and Wesson gun with him illegally.
A CBS4 check of records shows that Sierra has an arrest record dating back to 2005 when he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. In 2009, he was arrested twice for allegedly selling cocaine. A prostitution charge was filed against him in 2010.
In 2011, records show he was charged with illegally possessing a weapon. That same year, he was jailed after being charged with illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. He served 364 days and was released on June 22nd of this year.
Machado’s neighbors were horrified by the triple murder.
“I was shocked because I talked to a police officer and he told me he couldn’t even go in there because it was one of the worst things he has ever seen,” said Kristina Gomez, who has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years.
“It’s shocking that someone could do this,” she said. “I see them almost every day. I used to see her walking her girls and putting her babies in her car. It amazes me how someone could be so cruel. I feel crushed. I live right across the street from them and for someone to do something like that to a mother and her girls is incredible.”
“I can tell though they had problems,” said Gomez. “For some reason, they did not connect.”
The Department of Children and Familes told CBS4 the family has a history with the agency but the cases are now closed. Friends of the family said Machado also had a son who is about 7 years old.
But he was with his grandmother at the time of the crime, and is safe. Machado worked as a registrar at Beauty Schools of America and attended Keiser University.
“It’s terrible,” said Jeff Gonzalez, the Executive Director of Beauty Schools of America.
“Gladys had been here a couple of years as a registrar and we are very sorry. We send our condolences to the family.”
Beauty Schools of America has donated $5,000 to The Children’s Trust in remembrance of Machado, her 2 daughters and in support of her surviving son.
If you can help Miami-Dade Police solve this crime, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.