FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A death investigation is underway after two people were found dead in Fort Lauderdale, Tuesday morning.
The victims are a woman and a female juvenile, according to Fort Lauderdale police, who found the two at a home at 2030 NW 29th Terrace.
The uncle of the child identified her as 9-year-old Akakili Joseph, whom he said was visiting her mother, Ericka Bellamy Joseph, 46.
Joseph was divorced and retired from the military. Her daughter lived with her father in Bogota, Colombia, and was visiting for the holidays, according to neighbors.
Neighbors told Local 10 News that they saw Joseph close the hurricane shutters in the middle of the night and then they heard gunshots and screaming.
Joe Gresham told Local 10 News that his daughter often played with Akakili.
"I have an 8-year-old and she was only 9. That's horrible, man," he said.
The mother and daughter were discovered by Akakili's father, who works for the U.S. government in Colombia.
Witnesses said the home was locked when he arrived, so he called a relative to open the door. When he walked in, he discovered their bodies in a bedroom.
"She might have been battling something that's unknown to the family at this time," Joseph's brother, Tony Williams, said.
"It's gut wrenching," Gresham said. "What's more gut wrenching (is) she (is) an adult. She can do what she wants, but when you think about the kid, that gets you."
Authorities have not confirmed the victims' cause of death.