ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. - A small community paid tribute Friday to a mother and two children killed in a triple murder.
"I don't understand how anybody could take a life, especially a child," neighbor Vicki Ellis said.
The parking lot at Hiddenite Elementary School was full of people remembering the 11-year-old and 12-year-old children who used to go to school there, before they were killed, along with their mother, last weekend.
A man and his 16-year-old girlfriend, both charged with killing the Alexander County mother and her two children, faced a judge Friday.
Search warrants Channel 9 obtained Thursday helped paint a horrific picture in the killings of Maria Calderon and her son and daughter.
Deputies believe the three were murdered last weekend at their home north of Taylorsville before it was set on fire.
Reporter Dave Faherty went through the court papers on Thursday and learned one of the suspects admitted to being involved in the murders.
According to court documents, 16-year-old Heidi Wolfe admitted to her mother that she drove her boyfriend, Areli Aguirre-Avilez, to Maria Calderon’s home. She said Calderon and both of Calderon’s children, 11-year-old Angel Pacheco and 12-year-old America Pacheco, were shot inside the house but that the girl ran out.
Wolfe said Aguirre-Avilez told her to run the girl over and she did, telling detectives the impact killed America Pacheco.
A judge heard Aguirre-Avilez's request Friday for a court-appointed attorney and scheduled his next hearing date.
Aguirre-Avilez has no bond and could face life in prison or the death penalty.
"I think he should get the maximum penalty,” Ellis said.
Prosecutors argued that Wolfe was a flight risk, and the judge set her bond at nearly $1 million.
She could face life in prison or have the possibility of parole because she is a juvenile.
Angela Guillen doesn’t believe her daughter, Wolfe, ever went to the home with Aguirre-Avilez.
“I was angry that they would even think that Heidi would do something like that,” Guillen said.
Reporter Dave Faherty showed Guillen the search warrants indicating she told deputies, during an interview, her daughter admitted that she drove Aguirre-Avilez to the home when the crimes were committed.
“If she had (run) over somebody, wouldn’t (there be) blood on the car? Like a hypothetical?” Guillen said. “Yes. There’s nothing that’s going to link her to this because she did not do it.”
Deputies have continued to search along the Catawba River for Calderon. Investigators believe Wolfe and Aguirre-Avilez dumped her body in the river after killing her two children.
Officials said the pair set the family’s mobile home on fire to cover up the murders. According to the court papers, deputies also smelled gasoline when they got to the home.
Police have charged Aguirre-Avilez and Wolfe with three counts of first-degree murder.
Aguirre-Avilez at one time dated Calderon, but earlier this year she took out a restraining order against him after he threatened to burn her home down, police said.
A candlelight vigil for the mother and her two children will be held at the Alexander County Courthouse grounds on Sunday evening.
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