RENTON, Wash. — Betsy Alvarado can’t help but smile when she thinks of her daughters, 17-year-old Adriana Gil and 16-year-old Mariel Gil.
“They were, they were amazing,” she says. But all she has now are photos and memories. Her daughters were found dead inside their father’s Renton Home this past weekend. His body was found alongside them. Alvarado identified him as 33-year-old Manuel Gil.
How or why they died remains a mystery. Police say there is no evidence of foul play, forced entry into the home, carbon monoxide poisoning or drug use.
“All I do all day is try to put things together,” says Alvarado. But despite all the questions, she and the girls’ stepfather, Ron Anderson, have their own theory.
“They were being brainwashed by what they were calling a religion but must be a cult,” says Alvarado. She says her former husband was following an extremist fringe of the Black Hebrew Israelites. The Anti-Defamation League classifies some sects of the religion as a hate group.
From the clothes they wore to their diet and even behavior, Anderson says he could see over the last two years how their lives started to change. “Everything just seemed to keep on progressing and getting more extreme and more extreme,” he says.
Things became so extreme that Alvarado says she didn’t spend any quality time with her daughters for the last 10 months.
She says she tried to warn the state, but nothing happened. “I called CPS,” says Alvarado. “I told them they don’t go outside, they don’t have friends; something’s going on in that house.”
Now Alvarado and Anderson have lost both girls and the girls’ father. While the couple doesn’t know how the trio died, they can’t help but think the trio’s extreme beliefs played a role.
“We’re going to be just sitting in limbo trying to figure out what happened,” says Anderson.
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