A Chula Vista woman who tried to end a relationship was strangled by her ex-boyfriend alongside her two children.
Officers discovered Mary Catherine Alvarez, 41 and her children Hamid, 11, and Angelica, 12, Wednesday inside a townhome at 1746 Currant Way, in a complex located south of Olympic Parkway and east of State Route 125.
Chula Vista police say a man whose body was found below a Spring Valley bridge early Wednesday strangled Alvarez, his girlfriend, and her two children before jumping to his death.
Investigators said the mother and daughter also both suffered some sort of blow to the head. They have not identified a motive.
Friends of Alvarez said Thursday that Mary Catherine had been trying to separate herself from her boyfriend. They say the special education teacher moved into a new apartment with her children about three weeks ago.
A CHP officer found the man's body in a ravine near state Route 125 northbound, just south of Route 54 at about 5:35 a.m.
An abandoned 2001 Hyundai Elantra was parked near the ravine, said Ken Jackman of the CHP.
Though the man carried no identification, police conducted a registration check of the car. They traced the vehicle's owner to a Chula Vista apartment complex, but found that the owner had moved.
After speaking with the manager of the building, officials attained the address of the owner, Mary Catherine Alvarez.
It was after performing a welfare check at Alvarez' home that officers discovered the family. Alvarez was lying in a pool of blood, Jackman said.
“It’s a sad day when children are involved,” Jackman said.
A next-door neighbor said she heard a strange noise Monday around 5 a.m.
“It woke me up because it was really loud it was like a really loud scream,” said Patricia Manjarrez.
Friends said the man who committed suicide is Mary Catherine Alvarez’s boyfriend. The couple had been together for about 5 years. He was not the father of the children.
Through tears, Diane Vega, 12, remembered Angelica, a cheerleader and 6th grader at Corky McMillin Elementary.
“We were best friends," she said. " We were best friends she was always there for me.”
Mary Catherine Alvarez worked in the special education department at San Ysidro High School for the past five years.
School principal Hector Espinoza said, “Her passion was working with kids and it was noticeable in the classroom. Tragic its as simple as that it's a waste, such a tragic waste.”
Thursday was graduation day at San Ysidro High School. Administrators will hold a moment of silence at tonight's ceremony for Alvarez.
At Corky McMillan school, where 11-year-old Hamid was a fifth grader, the principal sent home a letter to parents notifying them of the situation. Crisis counselors were on campus Thursday to talk to kids.
The family has setup a fund for donations at Chase Bank under "Alvarez Family Memorial Fund". They say the money will help pay for the three funerals and any money leftover will be donated to a charity for victims of domestic violence.