WEST SACRAMENTO — David and Cindi Ortega — caught in time cradling their newborn grandson.
They had no idea that four years later, the baby’s mother, their daughter, would be charged with murdering her own brother.
“I still love her. She’s my daughter,” said David Ortega Sr., the father of the victim and the suspect.
David Ortega Sr. Spoke with FOX40 over the phone from his home in Idaho on Thursday. He was there Wednesday night when he got the call that his 37-year-old son, David Ortega Jr., was going to the hospital and his daughter, 35-year-old Jennifer Lopez, was going to jail.
West Sacramento police say Jennifer stabbed David in the chest in front of their mobile home. Soon after, David died.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said.
He wasn’t expecting murder, but Ortega says his son and daughter always had a troubled relationship.
“Well, you know, there’s always been sibling rivalry, and they were around each other all the time, and they fought all the time and stuff, so I think they were just around each other too much, and they were fighting quite a bit. You know, and…ugh,” he said.
David remembered that this time, his kids didn’t have their mother at home to step in the middle.
Two and a half weeks ago, Jennifer and David’s mother, Cindi, was found dead near West Sacramento City Hall, just about 800 feet from their mobile home.
The West Sacramento Police Department says they’re certainly unique circumstances, but the mother and son’s deaths do not look related.
Cindi’s cause of death is still undetermined. Ortega says she was in bad health, but then, there’s this:
“My daughter went up and identified her body, and she said she had bruises around her neck,” he said.
Ortega is struggling with so much loss in so little time. From 700 miles away, he’s trying to save the little guy left standing — his grandson, Tony, who was taken by CPS.
Tony is the glue that once held the family together.
“He was the center of everybody’s life, you know?” Ortega said.