SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — Sonia Santiesteban, 66, a loving grandmother raising her three grandchildren was murdered, police said, by her own daughter.
“I was just absolutely stunned,” said Liz Ignoffo, who lives nearby.
Neighbors said they heard children screaming Sunday evening.
“I went down there for the safety of the kids,” said Jose, a neighbor who asked that his last name not be used.
“When I entered there it was awful, the scene was awful that’s all I can say about, it was horrible and it was sad because the kids were still in there the killer was in there also,” said Jose.
Miami-Dade Police said the killer was Yudenia Rodriguez, 40, who stabbed her mother to death after the two got into an argument . Rodruiguez allegedly pushed her mother to the floor. When Santiesteban’s 15-year-old granddaughter tried to call 911, police said Rodriguez slapped the girl and grabbed the phone then got a knife and stabbed her mother multiple times. Neighbors said the front door was open.
“My granddaughter walked in the door and saw the grandmother on the floor,” said Virginia Smith, a neighbor.
“She came running out and she ran home and said ‘Grandma, Grandma just stay here in the house there’s been a murder” here and I’m thinking oh my word.”
As neighbors ran outside to see what happened, Jose said he ran into the mobile home where he said Santiesteban was already dead and a woman with a knife was hiding in another room.
“Because she was still in there, I didn’t know if she was going to hurt the kids or not,” Jose said.
He called 911 and stayed with the children.
“The kids didn’t want to leave the grandma’s side..they were just crying for their grandmother they just kept saying “Abuelita, Abuelita,” it was a real sad moment,” added Jose.
Margarita Redonda , a neighbor, said, “They’re really good kids but they’ve been through a lot.”
Sonia Santiesteban adopted the three children several years ago and wanted to give them the best life she could. CBS4 News partner, El Nuevo Herald, featured the family in the newspaper’s “Wish Book.”
The children were active in their church, and in an afternoon hearing, a judge gave temporary custody to their pastor.
Yudenia Rodriguez also appeared in court Monday, handcuffed because jail officials said she was aggressive and seated because she said she was in pain.
“Ms. Rodriguez you’re charged with killing your mother,” said the judge who denied bond and asked for a psychological evaluation.
Neighbors said Rodriguez had arrived at her mother’s home over the weekend. Some neighbors say they heard Rodriguez and Santiesteban fighting.
According to arresting documents, Rodriguez lived with her mother and the argument started when her mother asked her to move out, however multiple neighbors told CBS4’s Maggie Newland Rodriguez did not live with her mother, but would visit from time to time. Neighbors say Rodriguez arrived over the weekend.
Margarita Redonda said she talked with Santiesteban Sunday. “I attended church with the grandmother ‘Miss Sonia’ that morning and she told me that her daughter was here, she was fighting with her boyfriend and she was bringing a lot of problems to the home,” said Redonda.
A few hours later, Sonia Santiesteban was dead.