An Elk Grove couple is asking for the community's help with funeral expenses for a relative who passed away suddenly last week under mysterious circumstances.
Elk Grove Patch received an email Saturday from Sarah Ellis Velasco, who said she'd just returned from Oregon where a family member had been found suffocated in her apartment.
Maria Victoria McDonald, 31, left behind four children ages three to 11. Police are investigating her death as a possible homicide, according to an article in the Medford Mail Tribune. She was previously married to Velasco's husband's cousin.
"I don't know what happened to her," said Velasco, who coaches a girls soccer team for the Monterey Trail Soccer Club with her husband, Luis, the owner of Velasco's Landscaping. She said McDonald struggled with mental illness and had a troubled relationship with a roommate. "It's just sad it ended this way."
McDonald's ex-husband has had to leave his job in the forestry industry to take care of the children and is struggling to pay for funeral expenses, she said. The family has raised $1,116 towards the $2,100 they need for a cremation and memorial service, she said, and must come up with the rest by Friday or the funeral home will dispose of the body.
Elk Grovians wishing to help can make a contribution to the Maria Victoria McDonald Memorial Fund at any branch. To donate clothing or diapers for the children, or if your business needs tax information for a writeoff, email Velasco at email@example.com.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the organization for which Sarah and Luis Velasco coach soccer. It is the Monterey Trail Soccer Club, not Monterey Trail High School.