At first, they were anonymous. Two victims whom police wouldn't identify. We didn't need to know who they were to be terrified. Then we learned their names. And saw their faces. Now they are people to be mourned.
Growing up, they lived in the same neighborhood in Fort Myers, separated when one moved to Brandon, but back together in college, sharing an apartment in Gainesville. There they died together.
Carla Marie McKishnie and Eleanor Anne Grace.
Here are their stories:
Carla McKishnie stuck it out at the University of Florida after the terrifying Gainesville killings last year. She finished her senior year with honors and stayed on to get a master's degree in education.
She wanted to be a teacher.
It was little wonder that she was at the University of Florida. She came from a family of Gators.
Her two older brothers, Kenneth and Brian, also graduated from the school and her parents, Carol and Murray, often traveled from Brandon to Gainesville for football games, said her aunt, Willi Boyette.
Boyette said her 22-year-old niece loved children, the beach and water sports. "She loved to snorkle, she was a scuba diver _ anything to do with water and the outdoors," Boyette said.
"She was just a very lovely, very fun, sweet person," Boyette said.
She said Carla's parents went to Gainesville on Friday but were due back in Brandon today. Her father is a supervisor of the human resources department of Winn Dixie food stores in downtown Tampa.
In 1985, during her sophomore year, Carla transferred from Fort Myers to Brandon Senior High. There she was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, according to the senior yearbook. She graduated in 1987.
Family friend Marie Ware described her as "bubbly and full of life."
"Everybody that knew Carla loved her. She was wonderful," Ware said. "So precious."
Barbara Murphy, who lives two doors down from the McKishnies, said there were frequent family gatherings at their home in the upscale Bloomingdale section of East Hillsborough.
"She was just a real sweet girl _ real attractive," she said. "It's just a shock."
Boyette said she last saw her niece three weeks ago, when the close-knit family gathered for a camp out near St. Petersburg.
She was always smiling. That's what classmates at Fort Myers High School, class of '89, were saying Friday.
"She was the one who was always getting people together to do something fun," said Tiffney Willis, a classmate. "She was just a very happy person."
Eleanor, 20, was a Spanish Club and Student Council member for two years, according to senior class records, and belonged to the Windsurfing Club for three years.
Her father, Bill Grace, is a prominent Fort Myers lawyer and a historic preservation activist. Her mother, Susan Grace, is an elementary school administrator.
"We watched these people grow up from little girls to two beautiful young women," said Johanna Hudson, who lives in the same riverside neighborhood where Anne and Carla were raised just blocks from each other.
"They were top of the line, both of them."
_ Staff writer June Lyle and the Fort Myers News Press contributed to this report.