by Yasmeen Hassan

TUOLUMNE COUNTY (CBS13) — Detectives revealed gruesome details of a mother killed in Tuolumne County Wednesday.

What started as a house fire, led sheriff’s deputies to a grisly discovery. Near the house on Calle Quartz Road, they discovered the body of Dionecia Valencia. The 39-year old died a violent death, the autopsy revealing she was stabbed and chopped multiple times.

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“It was just worse than I could have even imagined. It’s like an awful nightmare and it just keeps getting worse the more information that comes out,” longtime friend, Crystal Ritter, said. “I’m just so baffled by it. I really don’t understand how someone could be so evil.”

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“It’s horrific and scary that something like that could happen in our neck of the woods,” neighbor Chris Smith, said.

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Two 16-year-old boys have been arrested for the grisly murder. Deputies believe they ambushed Valencia the night before the fire, killing her with bladed weapons.

Deputies say the teenagers knew Valencia. Now they’re trying to figure out just how, and why, they attacked this mother of five.

“How could you do this? You left five children without their mother,” Ritter said.

Friends and family are now left trying to understand how something like this could have happened, telling us, “our hearts are broken,” and “her children are devastated by this evil and unspeakable murder.”

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“She was a loving, really patient mother. I know that her kids meant more to her than anything else,” Ritter said.