In a KMEG 14 exclusive interview, the victims' mother speaks about her daughters, her husband and how her life has changed because of this tragedy.
Family and friends helped Marla Harris move out of her home on Monday. She says she cannot live in a murder scene, the site where her daughters Kendra and Alicia were strangled and stabbed to death. Not only is she dealing with their loss, she's wrestling with the fact that her husband could be their killer.
There's no words to describe Marla Harris' love for her two daughters. It comes out as a flood of emotion and guilt.
"All I can keep asking is why and I keep saying what if I would have come home earlier from work? What if I would have let them stay with their grandmas? Would they still be alive?" says Harris.
Marla never suspected that 10-year-old Kendra and 8-year-old Alysha could be in danger when left in her husband's care. But now 24-year-old Larry Harris is the main suspect in their murder.
The same man these girls lovingly called "Dad" for two years.
"Nobody even asked them to call him dad, they just started to call him dad and he treated them like he was their dad," says Harris.
Kendra and Alysha were straight A and B students at Irving Elementary School. They both had a creative knack.
Third grader Alysha loved to draw and fifth grader Kendra loved to write, authoring several poems and short stories. The two were inseparable.
"Pretty much, they slept, they had their own beds, but they never slept in their own beds. They always had to sleep together," says Harris.
Their stepdad told police the girls died because of a spell gone wrong.
"But in reality it was his hands who strangled them and it was his hands who cut them. So in my eyes, it was him," Harris says.
Marla wants her husband to pay the consequences for ending their lives, even though she admits she still loves him.
"How can I not? I've loved him for the past two years. Love is not something you can get over in a day," says Harris.
As for 10 years of love lost in one day, it may take a lifetime of grieving.
Just as investigators were cleaning up the crime scene early Monday morning, KMEG spoke with two other family members.
They revealed more about the relationship between the two victims and their stepdad.
Harvey Hansen, the girls' grandfather, says, "I mean he loved them, hugged them and did pretty much everything with them as far as I know."
Dean Stroman, the girls' uncle, says, "Like I said I always thought he was a nice guy. I guess everybody's got their secrets."
The two girls have attended Irving Elementary School since April. School officials sent out a letter to parents on Monday. It informs them that five grief counselors will be available for the victims' fellow students to help them cope with this tragedy.
The girls' family is setting up a fund to help pay for funeral costs. The family is also working on funeral arrangements at this time.
Suspect Larry Harris will back in court for a preliminary hearing on January 17.
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