Funeral held for 2 slain girls

Police: Alberto Sierra killed, raped wife, stepdaughters

Author: John Turchin, Crime Specialist, jturchin@local10.com
Published On: Nov 21 2012 05:12:16 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 22 2012 12:10:26 AM EST
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -

A funeral was held for the two girls who police say were killed, along with their mother, by their stepfather last week.

Families members described Julia Padrino, 6, and Daniela Padrino, 4, as having infectious personalities and a sense of humor.

"It's not an easy thing to see, a little casket,” said their great-uncle Manny Castro. “That's very difficult. Everybody's very somber. Everybody's basically still in shock. "We can't believe it.”

The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner released the girls’ bodies to their father, Michael Padrino, late Tuesday, allowing his family and friends to grieve together for the first time.

There was a service at Memorial Plan Funeral Home in Coral Gables, but there was no viewing. The caskets were closed. Castro said it was a celebration of the girls’ short lives.

"You have to now finally accept the fact that yes, this is now reality. This did occur," said Castro.

The girls and their mother, Gladys Sierra, 29, were found by a neighbor inside the closest of their west Miami-Dade home on Nov. 13. Alberto Sierra, 28, Gladys' husband, is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of sexual battery in their deaths.

According to investigators, Sierra confessed, telling detectives he put a plastic bag over each of their heads and didn’t let go until they stopped breathing. During the attacks, police said he also admitted sexually assaulting Gladys and one of the girls.

"It's human nature to have anger. You want revenge,” said Castro. "It's gruesome. It's unexplainable. You can't rationalize it. But you have to accept it. There's nothing that we can do about it to make it go away. It is what it is."

It was revealed last week that Machado had filed domestic violence charges against her current husband Alberto, as well as Padrino, her ex-husband.

Sierra has been convicted several times, including for selling cocaine and possession of a firearm. Last year, he was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Sierra was released from jail in June.