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‘She thought she was immune’: Single valley mother killed by Covid leaves behind 4 kids

A Coachella Valley mother who ignored pleas to get vaccinated is being remembered after losing her battle with Covid-19.

Loved ones say Jenny Gutierrez from Indio was a hardworking, positive pillar in the community – a single mother who leaves behind four kids.

CLICK HERE to donate to Gutierrez's GoFundMe.

Gutierrez was the long-time manager of the Circle K on Clinton Street in Indio. Her mom, Christine Whitener, said it was more than a workplace for her daughter – it was family.

"She just felt like it was part of her job to brighten people's day and to make them smile," Whitener said. "She loved that, loved to make people smile."

Gutierrez's employees called her the best boss imaginable.

"She wasn't just our manager. She was like a really, really close friend of ours. She was very loved," Ana Magdaleno said.

Gutierrez, just 39 years old, came down with Covid-19 two weeks ago. After being put on a ventilator, on Nov. 9, she succumbed to virus complications.

"I had been pressuring her for months to get the Covid shot," Whitener said. "I guess she thought that she was immune. I don't know, but I couldn't pressure anymore. It's her decision."

It wasn't just her that got sick – Gutierrez's four kids ages 21 to 7 caught Covid too. Now, her Circle K team is stepping in to help the children.

"They're a little isolated right now," Margrita Castro said. "But...the company's helping them a lot right now with their Christmas and their Thanksgiving dinner."

A tip jar on the front counter and a GoFundMe online are raising money for the kids, as concern grows about clothing, food and transportation.

A plaque will soon go up in Gutierrez's honor, dedicating the Circle K kitchen in her name.

Still, grief is only compounding as loved ones try to navigate the tragedy.

"I'm going to miss her so much," Whitener said through tears. "I can't imagine life without her."

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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