A tragic event appears to have unfolded in a parking lot outside the Capitola Mall in Santa Cruz County on Sunday afternoon when a father and his seven-year-old daughter were found dead in the family car, both from gunshot wounds in an apparent murder-suicide.
The incident took place at 3:15 p.m. Sunday in Capitola, according to ABC 7, after a family outing to the mall. Capitola Police Chief Terry McManus gave a statement saying that "the family was together in the mall for a period of time," and after the father disappeared with the daughter, the mother called 911 to say that her husband was making suicidal threats from inside the car.
As NBC Bay Area reports, police arrived on the scene and located the car where they found the 36-year-old man and the girl both dead at the scene.
The events leading up to the tragic event remain unclear. According to the Mercury-News, witnesses reported seeing two bodies removed from the black Kia Soul that belonged to the family. And while the girl's age has been reported as both seven and eight-years-old, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office is confirming that she was, in fact, seven.
The Sheriff’s Office has identified the deceased man as Carlos Garcia of Watsonville, as KRON 4 reports, and though the girl's name was not being officially released, KSBW spoke to the girl's aunt who identified her as Yaxtel Tapia.
Maria Tapia, writing on behalf of Guadalupe Tapia on this GoFundMe page raising money for funeral expenses, says, "We need help raising money for our beloved daughter, granddaughter, niece and cousin Yaxtel G. Tapia. Money will be used for her funeral arrangements to put our beautiful angel to rest. We hope to raise the money in time to put her to rest and be able to say our last words. The loss of our beloved little girl was very sudden and unexpected. Our family doesn't have the necessary funds at the moment and we would really appreciate the help."
If you are in crisis, text "BAY" to 741741 for free, 24/7, confidential crisis support from Crisis Text Line. And if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you or they should call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention crisis line at (415) 781-0500.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.