first_img“She was very loving,” Abril said. “She always would come up, and she wouldn’t give me one hug, she would give three or four hugs.” With shoulder-length dark-blond hair, Angelica was bubbly, outgoing and a bit of a tomboy. Passing by a teacher, Angelica would sometimes say that she hoped to be in that teacher’s class next year. “She definitely got out there and just mixed with the whole crowd at recess; she just had a big personality,” Abril said. The principal said that at school events, she always saw Angelica with her grandfather, Burton. He took Angelica to the father-daughter dance in February, just as he had the year before, Abril said. A man of medium height with neatly groomed hair, Burton was dedicated to his granddaughter. Angelica and her fellow pupils performed in two patriotic assemblies an hour apart on April27. Burton was there for both. “I think what is so shocking for us is we all knew her grandfather, too, and he was very paternal toward her, very supportive toward her,” Abril said. Neighbors said the Burtons were facing eviction, and Abril said the family’s car was recently destroyed. Sheriff’s investigators confirmed that Burton was in financial difficulty, and they think that led him to commit the murder-suicide. Gene White, 58, was a friend of Burton, whom he said used to work as a hardware salesman. Crystal Burton, Angelica’s mother, had health problems, White said. Like his granddaughter, Burton was a friendly and charismatic soul who looked out for the underdog and loved to greet strangers, White said. “Every time I talked to him, it was `Angelica this, Angelica that’ – he lived for Angelica,” White said. With her daughter Paisley, 5, by her side, and tears welling up in her eyes, Michele Perez sat on the grass Thursday in front of votive candles and stuffed animals left on the doorstep of the family’s home. “They were really, really close,” Perez said. “He was very, very protective of her, making sure she looked both ways before crossing the street.” Paisley and Angelica would often swim together at the River Ranch pool, and Paisley remembered how they used to share goggles. Paisley and the children in Angelica’s class have been told that their friend is now an angel, like her name. Paisley seems to have taken that to heart. “I wish I had wings,” she said. alex.dobuzinskis (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CANYON COUNTRY – Richard Boyd Burton sat in the front row a week ago at an assembly at his granddaughter’s school, watching her sing “God Bless the U.S.A.” Angelica Maldonado, 8, and her grandfather, Burton, 52, attended all the school events together. And as always, on Monday, Burton was at Valley View Elementary to pay for a week’s worth of school lunches for his granddaughter. Then on Tuesday, driven by what investigators say was despair over his financial situation, Burton fatally shot Angelica; his daughter, Crystal Marie Burton, 24; and then himself, authorities said. The shocking murder-suicide has left neighbors grieving in Canyon Country’s River Ranch town-home community, where a makeshift shrine has been placed in front of the Burtons’ door. Teachers and children who knew Angelica at Valley View are grieving, too, remembering a girl known for her bubbly energy and giant personality. Psychologists counseled her classmates Wednesday. Principal Gayle Abril told the children that a person’s life is like a book in the library – some are long, and some are short. “Angelica’s book would be a very good book, but it wouldn’t have a lot of pages,” Abril said. One-on-one counseling was given to three girls who discovered Angelica’s body lying in her bed Tuesday night when they looked through a window into her room. Angelica’s classmates cried when they heard of her death. last_img

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