A woman and her two young daughters were found dead in their home near Flagami Tuesday, prompting a homicide investigation by Miami-Dade police.
Friends identified the mother as 29-year-old Gladys Machado.
Her body was discovered in a closet beside the bodies of her two daughters, Julia Padrino, 8, and Daniela Padrino, 4.
The home at Northwest 73rd Avenue and Fourth Street is just east of the Palmetto Expressway and north of Flagler Street.
A neighbor who had access to the house made the gruesome discovery earlier in the day, Miami-Dade Police Det. Roy Rutland said.
She smelled an odor she didnt recognize and went looking for the source, Rutland said.
Machado also had a 6-year-old son. Friends said the boy was with his grandmother Tuesday night.
As news of Machados death spread, friends and neighbors gathered outside the single-family house where she lived. The mourners included the childrens father, Michael Padrino, who covered his face as he walked to the scene.
Padrino said his son, who is also named Michael, was not at home when the three bodies were found. He declined to answer further questions from reporters.
A woman who identified herself as Padrinos girlfriend said Padrino and Machado had a distant relationship.
Machado worked as an administrative assistant for the Beauty Schools of America and had attended Keiser University, according to her Facebook page.
Olga Cecilia Espinoza, whose children attended Lil Pirates Learning Center with Machados children, described Machado as a talkative and friendly woman who was devoted to her kids.
She was a very good mother, Espinoza said.
Espinoza said she last tried to reach Machado about 10 p.m. Friday. Machado didnt reply.
Hours earlier, Machado had posted a cryptic message to Facebook.
Where this road goes no one knows, she wrote from Homestead.
Monday evening, another friend posted a message on Facebook saying she was unable to find Machado.
Im looking for my bff gladys machado plz call me asap!! Channon Castro implored.
Neighbors said Machado was living with a boyfriend who was recently released from jail.
Records show that a 29-year-old man with an extensive criminal record lived at the home.
Alberto Sierra in October 2010 was accused of domestic battery on Machado, then using her former married name of Padrino.
According to an arrest report, the two had been dating for two months and were living together in Homestead. During a heated argument, Sierra bit Machado on the left forearm, then stole her gun and drove off in a maroon Ford Expedition.
The only way youre getting this gun back is to shoot me, he told her before escaping, according to the report.
Machado later found her gun, and reported to police that it had indeed not been stolen.
But when officers caught up with Sierra two months later, they found him with 79 grams of ecstasy, a 9-mm Smith & Wesson pistol and ammo. They also found five bottles of a club drug, Alkyl Nitrate, also known a Poppers.
Sierra, police said, admitted that he had stolen the gun during a burglary a few months before.
In June 2011, a Miami-Dade judge sentenced Sierra to a year of probation, and he had to take a values course.
But within two months, Sierra was arrested again, this time for driving even though he is listed as a habitual traffic offender.
In November 2011, he was again under police scrutiny, this time by detectives investigating another burglary. At the time, he was living with Machado at the same Flagami-area house where she was later found dead.
Machado allowed officers to search the house. They found a short-barreled Rugar sawed-off rifle, a 410-gauge shotgun and ammo
He was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and his probation was revoked. Sierra later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 364 days in a Miami-Dade jail.
Sierra was released from Miami-Dade jail on June 22.