TEMPLE, Ga. — For the first time we're hearing from the family of two young siblings police say were shot and killed by their father in a murder-suicide.
The family of 13-year-old Daniel Garcia and 11-year-old Kayla Garcia say they were as shocked and horrified by their murders as anyone in their tight knit community.
Their mother had originally planned to speak with Channel 2’s Ashley Swann, but in the end only her two older children could handle discussing their loss.
“They were the best bundles of joy anyone could ask for,” the children’s older brother, Matthew Castro, said.
He and his sister, Salyna Castro, met with Swann at the recreation center in Temple where their younger brother and sister spent so much of their time.
“Football, soccer, cheerleading,” Matthew Castro explained. He described Kayla and Daniel as inseparable siblings who did everything together.
“They were just Bonnie and Clyde,” Matthew said. “One of them was intelligence; the other was the comedy to follow right back up behind it."
Last week investigators responding to a welfare call found the siblings shot to death inside their Temple home. Their father, 41-year-old Luis Garcia, was also dead. The sheriff's department officially ruled it a murder-suicide.
“That's something nobody was prepared for,” said Matthew Castro.
Matthew Castro and Salyna Castro live in New York, where their mother was visiting when the murders took place.
All three immediately rushed to Georgia, where they say they've been overwhelmed by the community's support.
“We didn't know it, but they affected a lot of people and it's a good thing to see,” Salyna Castro told Swann.
The family didn't want to discuss what happened to the children, but did say there was no warning.
The father and mother were in the process of separating and police say they had recently responded to an assault call at the home.
But family friends told Swann the husband was not violent and that the mother did not leave her kids in a situation she thought was dangerous.
Salyna Castro and Matthew Castro say their focus now is on raising money to help their distraught mother cover funeral and burial expenses in New York-- a journey they say the community's donations and prayers are helping make possible.
“We came with the clothes on our backs and we're leaving with so much more,” said Matthew Castro. “Knowing that my little brother, my little sister affected so many hearts, so many people in so many ways.”
A memorial fund has been set up at the Bank of North Georgia in Temple for Daniel and Kayla Garcia. Donations can be made by calling 770-562-3278 or by visiting any Bank of North Georgia branch.
Online donations are also being accepted through the website gofundme.com.
A benefit concert for the family is scheduled for 2 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Mount Zion City Park.