Authorities say James “Jake” Hill fatally shot his daughters Jessi, 7, and Summer, 3
The family of two young Colorado sisters who were killed by their father in an apparent murder-suicide are raising money to pay for the girls’ memorial services this week.
The "two precious" sisters were remembered on social media this week, as the community rallied around their mother to help pay for funeral expenses.
Officers found Jessi, 7, and Summer, 3, dead alongside their father James “Jake” Hill after responding to a welfare check at the family’s home in Phippsburg, Colo., on Saturday, the Routt County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release earlier this week.
“This is being investigated as a murder/suicide and there is no known danger to our community,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
The two young sisters were visiting their father Hill, 45, at the time, according to family friend Tera Sherwood Peterson, who launched a GoFundMe to help pay for the girls’ memorial expenses.
Hill and the girls’ mother, Tierny Kay Miller, were separated, according to Peterson.
“They didn’t have any life insurance on their kids, and it’s something that is very expensive to do and, you know, they needed the money for it,” Peterson told the local Steamboat Pilot & Today news outlet.
Peterson’s GoFundMe page has raised nearly $10,000 for the family.
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Tierny responded to the efforts with a heartfelt message in the fundraiser’s comments, sharing a series of photos of her two young girls hugging and playing together.
"Thank you all for the tremendous support and prayers for our family during this difficult time,” the mother wrote. “The girls will be home tomorrow and we will begin planning services. Thank you all, these girls are greatly loved by the community, love and strength to all their friends, teachers, staff and family who are grieving.”
On social media, Peterson wrote that the community is planning a candlelight vigil for the girls this weekend and that a permanent memorial, including a plaque, is scheduled to be placed in a local Cedaredge park in honor of the sisters.
A description of the memorial event says community members will also plan to release balloons with messages written on them in memory of the girls.
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