From Colorado to Moore County family and friends are mourning the deaths of pregnant wife Shanann Watts and her two children Celeste and Bella.
Her husband Chris Watts was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of three counts of murder.
The deaths all happened in Frederick, Colorado where they were currently living, but people in Moore County are also remembering the family.
Shanann Watts went to high school at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines.
“It’s just really emotional and you don’t wish anything like that on anybody of course, but when you know the person and it’s somebody that’s a part of this community, it just really hits close to home,” said former high school friend Elizabeth McDonald.
A lawyer for Chris Watts said Friday the daughters’ bodies were submerged in crude oil for four days before they were found.
Defense attorney James Merson made the statement in a court motion Friday. The motion asks a judge to order that DNA samples be taken from the children’s throats.
In another motion, Merson asks that DNA samples be taken from the hands and nails of the body of the girls’ mother.
News of what happened to Shanann Watts, her unborn baby and two daughters spread through Moore County into Aberdeen where the family worked.
“It’s tragic, nobody should have to go through something like that, and from an Aberdeen standpoint, our hearts go out to the family,” said Aberdeen Commissioner Kenneth Byrd.
Friday evening, Frederick police said the coroner’s office positively identified the victims as Shanann Watts and her two daughters, Bella Marie and Celeste Watts.
“The manner and cause of death of all three bodies are pending further laboratory results and will not be released at this time,” Fredrick police said.
Lauren Arnold from Southern Pines started a fundraiser for the family and by Friday night had raised more than $60,000 to help the family.
Since the death of Shanann Watts, who was pregnant, questions have surfaced about Colorado’s lack of a law allowing homicide charges in the violent deaths of fetuses.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado is among 12 states without such a law.
Prosecutors are expected to charge Chris Watts on Monday.
Violent crimes have prompted debate before in Colorado, including in 2015 after a woman cut open a pregnant woman’s belly and removed her unborn baby.
Proposals to change the law have been stymied by debate about when a fetus can legally be considered a human being.
Colorado does allow a homicide charge if a fetus was alive outside the mother’s body and then killed.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report