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.
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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 didn’t 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 Machado’s death spread, friends and neighbors gathered outside the single-family house where she lived. The mourners included the children’s 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 Padrino’s 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 Machado’s 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 didn’t 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.