By Saturday night, the couple was fairly certain that their children were aware at the least of some of the developments.
"I think they do know more than they let on," Laura Phelps said. "We are going to have to learn what to say before we say it.
The Phelps did not want the names of the children out in the public.
Even those charged with breaking the news to young family members struggled.
At the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Father George Weiss was with the parents of a little boy as they told him his sister had been killed.
"We just told a little boy about his sister, and he asked, 'Who am I going to play with now? I have nobody to play with now.'"
"Excuse me," he said as tears rolled down his face, "it was just so hard."