Raleigh families grieve for children lost in tornado

Cristina and Angeles Niño Álvarez came to North Carolina from Mexico a decade ago, a pair of sisters seeking a better life.

They found it in Raleigh.

Both sisters got jobs at McDonald's, where they climbed the ladder, working side by side with the owners' children. They and their husbands settled into a mobile home community off Capital Boulevard, shaded with pines. Each couple had two children, and they adopted a puppy.

On Saturday, the country that became the families' haven and their hope brought unspeakable disaster.

A tornado ripped through their neighborhood, snapping gangling pines that crashed through the mobile home where the children huddled.

Three boys - Daniel, 9, Oswaldo, 8, and Kevin, 3, - died instantly. Six-month-old Yaire, cradled in her mother's arms during the storm, died Tuesday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. Her organs will help another baby live.

On Wednesday, more than a thousand people came to bid goodbye to the children at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh. They streamed in for hours, filling every seat in the sanctuary and standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the vestibule. The mourners were every color and creed: teachers from the older boys' Brooks Elementary School, neighbors from Stony Brook Mobile Home Park, the fathers' fellow construction workers, cashiers and cooks from McDonald's.

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