Need help? If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, reach out to the 24–hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741; or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay can be reached by dialing 211 or by visiting crisiscenter.com.
This story contains mention of domestic violence. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233.
SPRING HILL — The victims of Friday’s murder-suicide at a house on Dunkirk Road were siblings who attended J.D. Floyd Elementary and Powell Middle School.
An email sent to Floyd parents Sunday identified the children as Kailani Vasquez, a fourth grader at Floyd, and Kaeden Vasquez, a seventh grader at Powell.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for funeral expenses.
“Their father was not in his right state of mind and took their life and his,” the author of the page, Doaa Wilson, wrote. She described Kailani, 10, as “a goofball and full of joy," who was always smiling and loved to cook. Kaeden, 13, was a “super smart" honor roll student and liked to draw comic books. More than $10,000 had been raised by Sunday night.
Hernando County sheriff’s deputies were called to a house on fire at 9474 Dunkirk Road about 10 a.m. on Friday. There, they found the bodies of Derick Albert Vasquez, 43, and two children. Vasquez died by suicide after killing the children, deputies said. The fire was confined to one bedroom.
At a news conference Friday, Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said the incident had “some domestic violence-type overtones.” Police were called to the home March 22 regarding a verbal disturbance but the Sheriff’s Office declined to provide any other details about the active investigation.
Nancy MacAlpine, Vasquez’s next-door neighbor, said she arrived home Friday morning to find a young woman crying and yelling outside the home.
As she moved to call 911, MacAlpine said she heard what the woman was saying: “He shot my kids.”
Deputies have not confirmed the victims’ manner of death. They said the surviving woman had been taken away from the scene for an interview.
MacAlpine said she did not know her neighbors well but that loud arguments had erupted several times in the past week from the home.
Times staff writers Tracey McManus, Jack Evans and Luis Santana contributed to this report.