New Tampa, Florida - One by one, with candles in hand they came. In all, hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil Friday night in the Tampa Palms community of New Tampa to honor the memory of a sister and brother who Tampa police say were killed by their mother.
Calyx Schenecker was a 16-year-old sophomore at Tampa's King High school. Her 13-year-old brother, Beau, was an 8th grader at Liberty Middle School.
Photo Gallery: Candlelight Vigil
Photo Gallery: Mother accused of murdering her kids
Ann Sloan, a teenager, said "I came out here tonight because I just need to show respect and show that I really did care about Beau."
Her friend, Hailey Johnson, said, "It's just sad that his mom did this to him and his sister because he didn't deserve this. He was the sweetest kid ever."
With tears streaming down their faces, many of the kids who attended the vigil said they want to remember the way Calyx and Beau lived their lives, not the way they lost them.
Tampa police say their mother, 50-year-old Julie Schenecker, confessed to shooting and killing them at their home at 16305 Royal Park Circle which is in the gated community of Ashington Reserve. Investigators say Beau's body was found in a SUV in the garage while Calyx was found in an upstairs bedroom. Detectives believe they were killed on Thursday.
The candlelight vigil was planned by young people in the neighborhood but there were plenty of parents there as well, including Calyx's 7th grade teacher who told the crowd, "You all should remember that you made her life happy."
Raena Conger, a mother, said, "It hits home. It really, really, does because, I mean, you have kids, I mean, I couldn't even imagine what was going through her head or anyone else's head. It's really, really sad."
Carla Bruning is the principal at King High school where Calyx attended classes. Bruning said she sat right next to Calyx on Thursday while observing her Spanish class. She says teachers knew something was very wrong when Calyx didn't show up for school the next day because Calyx has never missed a day of classes there.
Bruning says, "She was an excellent student and Calyx was in the IB program. She made great grades - popular young lady -she was enthusiastic. She was on the cross country team, speech and debate. A little group of them were getting together to start like a Harry Potter club."
Grief counselors will be at King High school on Monday morning to help any of the 1,700 students there who need it. Grief counselors will also be at Liberty Middle School where Beau attended classes. His friends say he loved to play soccer.
Meanwhile Julie Schenecker is facing two counts of first degree murder.
Tammie Fields, 10 News