Dad of 2 boys found murdered visits Gage Park home for first time

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It was a powerfully emotional day for relatives of a murdered Gage Park family as they had their first opportunity to go inside the home where six members of the Martinez family were found murdered one week ago.

Among those going in was Manuel Cruz, who's the father of 13-year-old Leonardo and 10-year-old Alexis, who were the two youngest victims.

Cruz was overcome with emotion, and was comforted by relatives and crisis responders who accompanied him in.

“We have not discussed that all the occurrence of what happened or how it happened or even why it happened, but just to be there at this moment to literally pick up the pieces,” said Father Gary Graf of St. Gall Parish.

Father Graf will be performing the funeral on Sunday and the family asked him to accompany them to the house and pray a blessing on the home before they went inside to gather personal belongings.

“Certainly at this moment, to bring God into the moments, in those darkest moments, that's when God is most present, they truly believe that and that's what our presence here this morning is about,” Graf said.

As Manuel Cruz left the house, he paused in front of the crosses for his two sons and was overcome with emotion.

Investigators, meanwhile, continue to pour over hours and hours of surveillance video. The crime lab is rushing forensic tests to hopefully provide detectives with evidence to point to a killer. A  source familiar with the investigation told FOX 32 News that two of the victims had self-defense wounds on their upper extremities. The others apparently were caught off guard by the killer or killers, or had no chance to fight back.

Five of the family members were stabbed to death, while one of them, Maria Martinez, the mother of the two boys, was shot multiple times.

After the family was gone, supporters continued to stop by offering thoughts and prayers for the family. Some battled their own emotions and struggled for how to explain what happened to their children.

“I mean it's not easy, but as a child it's very hard to lose a child and sometimes you just let them know and show some support,” said a neighborhood mother who asked only to be identified by her first name, Patti.

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