Turkey, N.C. — A Sampson County father who saved his 8-year-old daughter from their burning house in 2002 is suspected of killing her Sunday and then committing suicide, according to family members.
Sampson County deputies found Carlos Vasquez, 39, dead inside his house at at 3660 New Hope Church Road in Turkey on Sunday night, along with Itzel Vasquez, now 18, of 1342 Sea Brook School Road in Fayetteville.
The sheriff's office said the two were related, but declined to provide specifics about their relationship or how they died.
Family members spoke with WRAL News on Monday, however, and said Carlos Vasquez shot his daughter and then turned the gun on himself.
"It hurts. Two people in my family died," relative Jonathan Vasquez said.
Carlos Vasquez had recently separated from his second wife, who went to Texas with their two children and was scheduled to return Sunday, relatives said. For some reason, she changed her mind.
"She was coming, and she stopped in Atlanta," Jonathan Vasquez said. "From there, she said she was thinking about it and said she was going back (to Texas)."
The separation was too much for Carlos Vasquez to handle, relatives said, noting that there were wrapped presents for his wife and children still under the Christmas tree in his home. He called family members Sunday to tell them goodbye.
"That's why all my uncles and aunts came, but when they got here, he was already dead," Jonathan Vasquez said. "It ain't the first time that he said (he planned to kill himself). He said it a lot of times already."
Carlos and Itzel Vasquez were in the news on Nov. 4, 2002, after their Clinton home burned down. Carlos Vasquez's first wife, Paula Vasquez, and their 4-year-old son, Christian, were found dead at opposite ends of the house.
Witnesses said Carlos Vasquez pulled Itzel out of the burning home through a window. He suffered minor injuries, but the girl wasn't hurt.
At the time, officials said Itzel told them that the family left their Christmas tree on overnight. The Christmas tree was in the area where the fire started, officials said, but the exact cause was never determined.