BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Police said a murder-suicide early Sunday morning at a Brunswick apartment complex also left a 6-year-old in critical condition. Eva Diaz was airlifted to Savannah Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.
Officials with the Glynn County Police Department said the evidence leads them to believe the girl's father, 24-year-old Jesus Diaz, shot his wife and child, then turned the gun on himself.
Officers found Jesus Diaz and 21-year-old Emiko Diaz dead in their child's bedroom about 2 a.m. at the Westminster Club Apartments on Darien Highway. Police said the couple did not have a violent history.
Eva was able to go to a neighbor for help, despite her wounds, Police Chief Matthew Doering said.
"That in itself was a miracle. She was shot in the head and yet maintained consciousness and ran next door for help and still made a brief statement,” Doering said.
Eva's family is by her side in the hospital, where she begun sitting up, according to Facebook posts.
Jesus Diaz was a houseman at The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort in St. Simons Island. A spokesman for the resort said he was responsible for making sure room attendants were supplied and for providing cleaning services for the resort's common areas.
“He was a friend to everyone. His professional nature called him to go out of his way to guarantee hospitality. He cared about those he supported, including his fellow team members and guests," said Michael Johnson, director and general manager for the resort. “Our prayers are with their daughter, family, loved ones and friends as we move forward through these difficult times.”
Anyone with information on this crime is asked to call Investigator Parker Marcy at 912-554-7802.
Vigil honors 21-year-old victim
Crystal Morales, a family friend, hosted a vigil for the Diaz family at 7 p.m. Monday outside the family's apartment.
“I've known her half my life, and I don’t have a single negative thought about her. She just wanted to make people happy and that's what she did,” Morales said.
Morales said she met Emiko Diaz in the fourth grade and that Jesus and Emiko were happy.
“They were both friends of mine,” Morales said. “We were all friends that hung out together. Our families were close, and they fell in love and got married.”
Lila Pinek helped lead the vigil that was attended by friends who wore purple to honor the young mother. Pinek said Emiko Diaz grew up with her children and she was like her own daughter.
"She was close to us," Pinek said. "Her smile ... She was always happy and there was no moment that you saw a single tear in her eye that she was going through hard things."
Tamara Coullitte knew the couple and had been friends with Emiko for four years. She described Emiko as a hard worker who had two jobs and graduated from the College of Coastal Georgia with honors.
VIDEO: Vigil held for Diaz family
"This is just shocking to me. Very shocking," Coullitte said. "We would just engage in conversations about future goals and our children. And she was pleasant."
Loved ones said they will always remember Emiko's angelic spirit.
Police: Couple did not have violent history
Jesus Diaz and Emiko Diaz did not have a violent history, investigators said.
There were also no signs of domestic violence, according to friends. But that's something Ellen Siler, CEO of the Hubbard House -- a domestic violence center -- said she's heard before.
"Last year in Jacksonville, there were nine cases where people lost their lives and in none of those was there a prior police arrest or a prior injunction," Siler said.
The couple may not have shared any problems with friends, but Siler said only they knew what was going on in their house. Her advice to anyone in a relationship where their loved one has threatened to hurt or kill them is to get out.
"If you suspect someone is being abused, encourage them to call for help because we can help and we can help avoid tragedies like this," Siler said.
Siler also said the tragic incident will have a lasting effect on the 6-year-old child.
"They often blame themselves for the violence and blame themselves for not being able to protect the parent. They see and hear much more than we know they do. So if a child has lived with violence, it's important for them to get an intervention as well," Siler said.
Domestic violence victims in Georgia or their loved ones can call the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-33-HAVEN or click here. To reach the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, call 1-800-500-1119, or find more information by clicking here.
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