SAN DIEGO -- The widow of mass slayer James Huberty has received the first grant from the $1.2 million San Ysidro Victims Survivor Fund to pay immediate expenses.
Etna Huberty has dropped out of sight, reportedly returning to Ohio Wednesday as she indicated she would shortly after the shooting.
Spokesmen for the survivor's fund said today that the welfare of Mrs. Huberty was under the personal purview of McDonald's heiress Joan Kroc.
The survivor's fund has made 10 payments to victims of the July 18 attack which occurred at a crowded McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, the spokesmen said.
Mrs. Huberty received the $1,000 grant before her husband was cremated and the ashes prepared Monday for shipment home to Ohio.
Mrs. Huberty said earlier she planned to raise additional money for herself and shooting victims by selling the rights to the story of how her husband's life disintegrated and exploded into unimaginable violence.
She said it would be 'stupid' and 'dumb' to give away the story because she must care for her two daughters, Zelia, 14, and Cassandra, 10.
'Her girls need to be educated and Mrs. Huberty needs to conquer her guilt feelings,' a friend, Ann Ruiz, wrote Wednesday in a letter to the San Diego Union.
Mrs. Ruiz said the National Enquirer has offered to top all other bids for an exclusive interview, but said her friend will 'sell her story to a competent agency that will protect her rights.'
She also said she has decided to give some of the proceeds to victims of the massacre.
'Keeping the press away from her at this time has been a tremendous job,' Mrs. Ruiz said. 'Doesn't anyone have any feelings for this woman's grief? It is 22 times that of the rest of the people.'
Huberty killed 21 people before he was gunned down by a police sniper.
Six of the 19 people wounded in the attack remained hospitalized a weeklater. One of them, Aurora Pena, 11, was showing signs of cheer as doctors treated her wounds in the jaw and arm and considered plastic surgery to repair her leg.
'She's cheerful and for the first time asked for a newspaper, one in Spanish,' a spokeswoman for the Chula Vista Community Hospital said Wednesday.
Hospital staff members said the girl has not mentioned the trauma of last Wednesday, when she was hit in Huberty's spray of bullets.
At the murder scene, commemorative flowers dotted a wall of the building and residents maintained a vigil.
Officals of McDonald's, who have decided to not reopen the restaurant, and the city were expected to meet shortly to discuss a request by the largely Hispanic San Ysidro community to turn the murder site into a memorial park.
Tennis stars Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl, meanwhile, said they would play an exhibition with Hollywood celebrities in San Diego Aug. 9 to raise $250,000 for the victims.
'I don't know if anything has touched me as deeply as the news of last week's tragedy in San Ysidro,' Connors said. 'I wanted to do something personally to help the families of those killed.'
Mental health experts said dozens of people in the community have sought counseling to cope with the tragedy.