Their mother was eaten by a lion. Her family wants help to give kids a special Christmas

Yinshan “Michelle” Wong
Yinshan “Michelle” Wong Placer County Sheriff’s Office

The family of the Sacramento mother whose body was found in Placer County earlier this month partially consumed by a mountain lion is seeking donations for her three children so they can have some semblance of a merry Christmas.

When Yinshan “Michelle” Wong, 33, disappeared earlier this month, it devastated her three children, Tino,10, Noah, 8 and Bella, 6, said their uncle, Ricardo DeCarlo.

The kids already suffered a rough year.

In February, their grandmother, Mayra Zamora, had a heart attack and died at age 55, he said.

“Mayra was a huge part of the children’s lives and was very much involved in their day-to-day care,” DeCarlo said in a GoFundMe online fund-raising campaign.

In May, the kids’ grandfather, Lorenzo Guzman, was deported to Mexico – “another devastating loss” for the kids, DeCarlo said.

Wong’s car, shoes, purse and phone were found Dec. 3 in a rural neighborhood above the American River Canyon on the outskirts of Auburn. Her body was found about a mile away after a three-day search through the rugged blackberry bushes and poison oak that choke the walls of the steep, rugged canyon.

Wong’s body had been partially consumed by a cougar, but Placer County sheriff’s officials say the big cat scavenged from her corpse after she had already died.

There was no evidence she was murdered or killed herself, officials say. Her cause of death is so far inconclusive. DeCarlo said she may have succumbed to hypothermia. Also unanswered: why she wandered into the canyon in the dark that damp morning, shoeless and wearing only a light dress.

“These poor children’s lives have been completely turned upside down,” DeCarlo said. “And the life they knew has been suddenly stripped away and will never be the same again. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like for them going forward.”

He hopes the money raised in his GoFundMe campaign will be able give them “a special day that they will never forget.”

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