ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — It has been nearly two months since the murders of a mother and two children in Alexander County and for the first time, the only surviving family member is talking to Channel 9.
“I’m still in disbelief. I still want to text my little brother and text my little sister,” said Berenice Reyes.
There is a memorial in front of a home north of Taylorsville, where family members and friends have left stuffed animals for the children who died here after a fire was set to cover up the crime in June.
(Angel E. Pacheco, America D. Pacheco)
Their sister said she goes to the home occasionally, trying to find old pictures and other items not destroyed by the fire.
The only thing Reyes has left of her family is a charred photo album of her 11-year-old brother Angel E. Pacheco, 12-year-old sister America D. Pacheco and mom, Maria Martinez.
Deputies said they were all murdered at the home and Reyes' mother's body has not been found, despite searches across the foothills.
“I just feel like she’s not safe. I just want to find her. I feel like they’re lying because they have more to hide,” Reyes said.
Shortly after the murders, deputies arrested Areli Aguirre Avilez and his 16-year old girlfriend, Heidi Wolfe.
In court documents, Wolfe admitted to going to the home with Avilez where she told investigators he killed two people inside, and she ran over a third person who tried to run from the home.
Avilez was married to Martinez, but earlier this year she got a domestic violence order against him for threatening to burn her home down.
“He was already sending threats because he felt entitled to the house even though my mom has put it under mine and her name, just so he wouldn't have the right to it because he wouldn't sign the divorce papers,” Reyes said.
(Avilez and Wolfe)
Deputies believe there may be more victims in the case. Martinez’s boyfriend, Juan Mendez-Pena, and Luis Sanchez have been missing since the night of the fire.
Both men often stayed at home.
Reyes showed Channel 9 one of the last photos of her brother and sister, who she thinks of every day.
“I still want to have them here with me, but I guess they’re in my heart you know they’re always with me,” she said.
Prosecutors announced they are planning on seeking the death penalty against Avilez. Attorneys said they are unable to do that against Wolfe because she is only 16.
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