National News

Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office collecting donations for children affected by Loganville stabbing

Posted August 3

— In a sandy lot beside the Loganville mobile home where a mother is accused of stabbing her husband and children to death stands a plastic playground set with two small swings and a wavy blue slide.

"The young victims often played on the small playground with the other children in this small, tight-knit mobile home community," Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Deputy Shannon Volkodav wrote on the office's Facebook page. "So these children have been deeply affected by this horrific tragedy."

The sheriff's department wrote that post on Monday to ask the community for playground equipment, toys, clothes, food and school supplies - anything that could make life a little brighter for those kids, most of whom come from impoverished families.

Now, Volkodav said all they really need are food and school supplies. She said that within two hours of posting to Facebook, people began calling and emailing her committing to donate playground equipment, toys and clothes.

"Thank God we have such an amazingly supportive community," she said.

Volkodav said donations came in from all over the country and from people of all income levels who just wanted to do something to help the residual victims of last month's crime.

It's a murder that has become national news. Early in the morning on July 6, mother Isabel Martinez, 33, stabbed her husband and five children in her home in that Loganville mobile community, according to police. Husband Martin Romero, 33, and four of the children died in the incident.

Only Diana Romero, 9, survived the attack. She's now living with her aunt and uncle.

Romero and her siblings used to play outside their home, sometimes with other children in the neighboring mobile homes. It's those kids that the sheriff's office hopes to help with the donations.

"There's no doubt that these children have been deeply affected by these events and certainly we can't take away their hurt," Volkodav said. "But we can do something to brighten their day."

Eventually, Volkodav said the department plans to deliver the food, backpacks and toys to the kids at their neighborhood. She isn't sure when that will happen, yet.

Whenever it happens, Volkodav said she hopes the act gives the families more than just stuff.

"The message I hope they receive from us is that this entire community is full of people who care about you and about your family," Volkodav said. "That concept is more valuable than any donation or monetary amount."

Anybody who wants to donate can drop items off at the sheriff's headquarters at 2900 University Parkway in Lawrenceville through Aug. 7. For answers to questions, contact Volkodav at shannon.volkodav@gwinnettcounty.com.

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