Family and friends remember young Pawtucket victim
While 43-year-old father Jorge DePina spends time behind bars thinking about the murder charge he now faces, friends, classmates and family members of his late daughter, 10-year-old Aleida DePina, are left confused and heartbroken, trying to figure out how the elder DePina could have allegedly murdered his own little girl.
On Friday night, dozens of friends, mostly from DePina's native Cape Verde streamed by the Pawtucket apartment where the grade schooler lived and rode her bike to light candles and drop off pink toys to remember the youngster by.
One woman was sobbing, and wiping tears from her eyes as she re-entered her car, saying "It's horrible. I can't believe it," as she shut the door.
The woman said she's praying the relatives of the little girl taken much too soon.
Andrea Correia is a ten-year-old fourth grader at the International Charter School in Pawtucket.
Correia says she and her cousin Nilson Montello knew Aleida, and her father Jorge, who's now the prime suspect in the case, because their fathers both used to get their hair cut at the makeshift barber shop DePina ran out of this home at number 48 Knowles Street in Pawtucket.
Correia said, "Her dad actually used to give haircuts, and I actually live down the street, and my dad, I used to come with my dad and I used to play with her. We used to play (Nintendo) Wii together. That was her favorite game."
Correia's cousin Nilson Montello is a 16-year-old high school junior.
He said, " I know her dad because I used to come and get haircuts by him, and my dad was good friends with him, and that's how I got know him."
When asked if he had provided the haircut that he was sporting at that moment, Montello said, "Yes, he did."
To clarify, the NBC10 reporter asked, "So your most recent haircut was from the defendant who's now in jail?" Montello said, "Yes," as he looked down towards the ground.
The suspect Jorge DePina wailed on Friday as he faced a judge on upgraded charges of murder.
All the while the victim's young friends are still struggling to cope with the almost unbearable news that Aleida was the victim of serious violence, and that the man suspected murdering her, is her own dad.
Correia said, "I feel sad, and my mom told me that she died."
When NBC10 asked the 10-year-old if she was confused about what happened to her, she said, "Not any more, 'cuz I saw it on the news, but I was confused before."
Montello was stone faced while NBC10 was asking him questions about the victim and the suspect, almost in shock over the entire ordeal.
The teen says, above all, through his anger and pain, he wants answers.
"I want to know what actually happened, because there are a lot of things being told that we don't know, so we want to know what actually happened," he said.
When NBC10 asked Aleida's 10-year-old friend Correia 'If it turns out to be true that her father did something to hurt her, how does that make you feel?" She said, "Really sad and mad. because I actually knew him."
When asked, "Did you ever feel scared of him??"
She said, "No."
When further questioned, "Did you feel comfortable being near him?" The young girl answered, "Yes."
The devoted friend said if Aledia is listening, she'd like her to know, "I love her and I miss her."
Some of the neighbors NBC10 spoke with, and who had met DePina said they 'don't believe' it's possible that he had anything to do with Aledia's death.
Also, those who live in the same apartment building told NBC10 while they didn't see the young girl outdoors very much, when they did see her with DePina, her dad, they never noticed anything strange.