Twenty-five years to the day after an incomprehensible act of violence altered the life of Boyes Hot Springs toddler Carmina Salcido, Sonoma County still searches for signs that hers will be a good and happy life despite its ghastly beginning.
Carmina was days short of age 3 when her jealous, enraged father sliced her throat and those of her two sisters the morning of April 14, 1989. Then Ramon Salcido murdered the girls' mother, almost everyone else in the extended family, and a co-worker. He also tried to kill two other people.
A day and a half later, little Carmina was discovered off to the side of a rural south-county road — alive! — near the bodies of her sisters.
A Look Back At The Salcido Killings
Carmina Salcido sits in a hospital bed after being taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital in April 1989. Carmina was found alive in a field after her father's rampage.
Carmina Salcido was only three-years-old in 1989 when her father, Ramon Salcido, murdered most of her family and left her for dead. Salcido now has a three-year-old daughter of her own. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)
Carmina Salcido now has a 3-year-old daughter of her own, Zophia.
Retired Sheriff's Capt. Dave Edmonds, who was the lead investigator on the Salcido slayings, said, "It was like our little 9/11 here."
Craig Schulz in 2010. (PD FILE, 2010 )
Former prosecutor, now Sonoma County judge, Ken Gnoss in 2014. (PD FILE, 2014 )
Tom Siebe, a retired chief deputy coroner with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office poses for a photo near his home in Petaluma on Sunday, April 13, 2014. (BETH SCHLANKER/ PD )
Ramon Salcido in 2007. (PD FILE, 2007)
A Sonoma County deputy puts police barrier line at driveway of Salcido in Boyes Hot Springs after Ramon Salcido's killing spree.
Sonoma County deputies investigated the shooting scene on April 14, 1989 at Grand Cru Winery in the Sonoma Valley.
Sheriff's office investigator searches for evidence in front of Boyes Hot Spring home of Ramon Salcido in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Greg Berry, an investigator with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, removes the body of one of three victims of Ramon Salcido's April 14, 1989 killing spree from a home in Cotati. (PD FILE, 1989)
Carmina Salcido, then 3, sits in her room at Petaluma Valley Hospital with some of the toys well-wishers sent to her after her father, Ramon Salcido, slit her throat and left her for dead with her two sisters.
Angela Salcido was 24 when she was killed by her husband, Ramon. (PD FILE, 1989)
Ramon Salcido's three daughters, from left: Sofia, 4; Carmina, 2; and Teresa, 22 months. Carmina survived her father's attack in April 1989, lying with her sisters' bodies at a dump for a day and a half before being discovered. Salcido killed seven people during his rampage.
Ramon Salcido is escorted off a private jet by Sonoma County sheriff's deputies after his arrival April 21, 1989 from Mexico, where he had fled after murdering seven people including his wife and two of his three daughters. (PD FILE, 1989)
Young boys watch intently as technicians go over the Salcido murder scene in Cotati in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Tracy Toovey, assistant winemaker at Grand Cru Winery in Glen Ellen, was shot to death by Ramon Salcido in 1989.
Sheriff's investigators put covers on their shoes as they prepare to enter home on Lakewood Avenue in Cotati where three people were murdered in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Neighborhood kids view a newspaper near the home in Cotati where Ramon Salcido allegedly killed his three victims in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Some neighbors of the Cotati murder victims were in tears upon learning of the crime in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
The first day of murder trial for Ramon Salcido in San Mateo in 1990. (PD FILE, 1990)
A young woman expressed her grief between the Rosary and the funeral mass of the Richards/Salcido families. Services were held n Petaluma in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Ramon Salcido and Public Defender Marteen Miller greet one another during Salcido's last court appearance for discovery proceedings in 1989. (PD FILE, 1989)
Amid the horror and revulsion and fear of one of Sonoma County's darkest moments, there was cause for joy. Carmina became the county's little girl, an instant and prolonged beneficiary of many strangers' kindness, generosity and hope.
Yet today, as Carmina approaches her 28th birthday, a sustained upturn in her life continues to elude her.
She is minimally employed and relies on others for most basic needs, but her greatest crisis is the prospect that she may permanently lose custody of her own daughter, Zophia Angela Salcido. The child, nicknamed Zoe, is virtually the same age that Carmina was at the time of the 1989 killing spree that left her an orphan with nightmares and a scar clear across her neck.
Zoe, who turned 3 on Sunday, lives with foster parents in Santa Rosa. County child-protection officials took her from Carmina and her former boyfriend, Matthew Inocencio, early last year upon finding evidence that her safety was in jeopardy from factors that included drug use, poor judgment and “chronic domestic violence.”
Carmina, who lives in a Cotati apartment paid for by strangers, is allowed to be only a very part-time mom to Zoe. “I see her two times a week, four hours each time,” she said.