CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- With the soft flicker of a hundred lights, a grieving community and a heartbroken family huddled close on Monday night for a candlelight vigil honoring a slain Chesterfield family.
39-year-old JoAnna Cottle and her three children, 13-year-old Kaelyn Parson and four-year-old twins Kinsey and Jayson Cottle, died early Friday morning inside their home on Laurel Oak Road after police said they were shot to death by the twins' estranged father.
Thirty-five-year-old Navy veteran Jonah Adams was arrested near his home in Waldorf, Maryland on Friday shortly after the shootings.
Monday's vigil was held at Salem Church Middle School where Kaelyn was a student. On Monday, several counselors and support dogs were brought to the school to offer support to students and staff.
"Even though what happened Friday was a tragedy, it's brought our family all back together from all different states and it's brought the community together. We know there is going to be a reason for this and we may not know what it is but there is a reason," Stephen Bradshaw, JoAnna's cousin, said.
Cottle's family said it was important that they attend Monday night's vigil at the school to offer support to the community and to the children's friends.
"Really, to these little kids here at the school, you know, it's really hard being a family member and being an adult and having someone taken away, but when you're young and you're at school the day before with your best friend and whatnot and all of the sudden they are gone, these kids are hurting and we just need to wrap our arms around them," Bradshaw said.
While the family said they are struggling to understand this tragedy, they hope the light that their loved ones brought to the world will never fade.
"There's no words of the grief and sorrow that you can express to someone or the feelings of anger or rage, but we all come back to the hope and knowing that they're with God now," Bradshaw said.
A funeral service will be held next Tuesday at Destination Church in Hopewell.
The family said there will only be three caskets, as they plan to bury the twins together. The family said the twins came into this world together and now they should rest that way.
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