FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 3-year-old girl who police said was the only survivor in a murder-suicide at a home in Pembroke Pines is now in the custody of a cousin while the dependency process begins.
According to authorities, the toddler's father, Pablo Colon Jr., 35, fatally shot his wife, Sandra Colon, 36, his mother-in-law, Olga Alvarez, 61, and his other 3-year-old daughter Sunday night before taking his own life.
A 911 dispatcher took a call from a cousin of Colon's, who said Colon had called them and told them he "had to do it" and said, "You would see them in heaven."
The shooting was reported at the family's home inside the gated Grand Palms Golf and Country Club community near the 1600 block of Southwest 156th Avenue.
Police said the surviving daughter was injured but has since been released from a hospital.
Relatives of both deceased parents crowded into Tuesday's shelter hearing inside a Broward County courtroom.
Broward County Judge Shari Africk Olefson expressed her amazement at the large number of relatives who showed up on behalf of the young girl.
"I can't tell you how many children come through here and have no family show up," she said. "To see this is really wonderful, because the child is going to need it."
Olefson explained the process as relatives expressed interest in visitation rights to help the child cope in the aftermath of this tragedy.
A representative from ChildNet testified that the girl is getting good care with the relative she is currently with.
Another court proceeding is set for Friday as the child's therapeutic needs are being met.
Olefson told relatives that it would be up to the child and what is in the child's best interest in deciding who gets visitation.
Relatives, many of whom were crying and hugging each other outside the courtroom, declined to speak with reporters.
A motive for the murder-suicide remains unclear.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the victims' family cover their funeral expenses and another GoFundMe page has been set up by the surviving child's legal guardian to go toward her future care.