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Nearly killed by her father in 1989, Carmina Salcido faces new crisis

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

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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.

She contends she has done well at meeting the demands of Child Protective Services aimed at bringing greater stability and responsibility to her life.

"I understand I need to do more work," Carmina said. Still, she said, she believes she has demonstrated she is a good parent and that she is being unfairly denied access to her daughter.


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