Relatives say 27-year-old Giovana Yauli Tucto was always happy, a loving and devoted mother to 1-and-a-half-year-old Dillan and an 8-year-old son.
Firefighters found the bodies of Giovana and Dillan after thick smoke and flames raced through their home in a converted garage on the 170 block of E. 50th Street in South L.A. on Wednesday. The mother was declared dead at the scene. Paramedics tried to save the boy, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Friends say Giovana's boyfriend was at work and their 8-year-old son was at school.
Investigators initially thought the deaths of the mother and child were accidental, but now they suspect homicide.
Sources told Eyewitness News the coroner found duct tape on the back of one of their necks.
The corner has to determine whether the woman and toddler were dead before the fire broke out.
Investigators said the garage had been converted to a living space and did not have a working smoke detector.