PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Dozens of people showed up to a vigil for the three children who were killed earlier this week, including their great-aunt, who called 911 after finding them not breathing. 

[VIDEO: "They were just kids," says great-aunt of 3 children killed by mom in Phoenix]

"He [the father] yelled, 'Tia! The baby's not breathing!' And I ran in the house and I started giving the baby CPR, and I told Rachel to call 911 and she was staring, sitting by me, staring at her phone. I grabbed the phone and told her, 'You do CPR! You're a CNA!' And she started. She screamed and started giving CPR," Pearl Rebolledo recalled. "I called 911, and I was on the phone with 911, and I looked over. I was like, 'Miraya and Zane!' And I realized Miraya wasn't breathing either, and I pulled her to the floor, and I started giving her CPR and I was like, 'No mami, no!' I tried to wake her up, and I couldn't. And I looked at Zane, and I tried to push his chest too." 

[WATCH: Family member of 3 kids killed in Phoenix shares heartbreaking images, video]

She said officers arrived and took over CPR on Zane, but it was too late. None of the children were able to be revived. 

"I want to thank the people who responded to the 911 call. To the officer, to the first officer who got there and tried to help me resuscitate Zane, because I couldn't do both the kids. And just everybody who responded. I know they have to be feeling horrified like I am right now. I just want to thank them all for their help."

[RELATED: Medical Examiner releases names of 3 children killed by Phoenix mother]

Court paperwork details how the mother, Rachel Henry, admitted to police that she smothered each child one by one.

"I thought maybe she had overdosed the babies. She was always giving them medicine, even if they weren't sick," Rebolledo explained. "I really thought that she accidentally gave them too much medicine, and they stopped breathing. But it was more horrific than that. She actually took their lives. She actually suffocated them one by one."

The children's father is Rebolledo's nephew. Rebolledo said the children have lived with her for about year.

"She gave me temporary guardianship of them for a minute, but not legally, just on paper. I didn't want them to get lost in the system, you know," she explained.

Rachel moved into the home in June. She told Rebolledo she wanted to be closer to her kids.

"She could've stayed wherever she wanted. She didn't have to come here. She didn't have to come here, but she came here and she wanted to be with her kids. She missed them. She was on the street, and she wanted to straighten up and everything. She could've walked away at anytime."

Rebolledo described that the children seemed happier with her than with their mother, but she never understood why.

"The day before, or the night before, she was staring at Miraya and I was looking at Miraya. And Miraya stopped eating, and she kind of got, like, uncomfortable. And I was like, 'Stop staring at her! You're making her not eat! What's wrong with you?' She said, 'Nothing's wrong with me.' And she sat down and finished eating her dinner."

The great-aunt says she wishes she could go back in time. "I can't change it now. I can't change it now. And that's killing me." Rebolleda said she is going to try to get the children home to Oklahoma for their funerals.

"I have kids of my own, so it's just sad you know," said Diana Anaya who gave candles to the growing memorial.

 

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