Woman Killed When Tree Fell on Wedding Party Identified as Bride's Mother

The woman killed Saturday when a tree fell on a wedding party in Whittier was identified as the mother of the bride

The woman killed when a giant eucalyptus tree fell on members of a wedding party at a Southern California park was identified by the coroner Monday as the 61-year-old mother of the bride. 

On Sunday, family members confirmed to NBC4 that the bride's mother died at the hospital. The coroner's office on Monday identified the deceased woman as Margarita Mojarro, 61, of San Pedro.

"She's a beautiful lady, she's so nice, so friendly with a big heart," said Javier Bravo, the victim's neighbor.

Neighbors described a frantic scene Saturday at Penn Park in Whittier. Many ran to the scenic park after hearing a loud "boom" around 4:30 p.m. followed by screams.

Timothy Leuschner and his family live across the street from the park.

"It sounded like literally a gunshot went off," Leuschner said. "It was scary."

Nearby residents who ran to help those trapped under the tree, estimated at about 80 feet tall, found injured men and woman dressed in their wedding suits and gowns, covered in blood. 

"I started pulling the tree apart, just ripping the tree apart," said witness Danielle Carrasco.

Carrasco and others removed large branches to help at least two men who were trying to rescue the bride. 

"They had the bride in their arms," said Carrasco. "I got her on my shoulder and we helped her over. She was just screaming for her mom."

At least five people, including a 4-year-old girl, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The girl was in serious, but stable, condition Sunday.

Penn Park a scenic location popular for weddings and photography. The wedding party was apparently posing for pictures at the time the tree fell.

An arborist is expected to visit the park to determine what caused the tree to fall. That investigation will require "several days," said Jeff Collier, city manager.

"There are several factors that could have played into this," Collier said. "We did have rain, which we haven't seen in quite some time. We have the drought conditions, and we did have some heavy winds. Those are all possible contributing factors."

The park remained closed Monday.

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