Struggling through his tears, the brother of the 30-year-old woman killed Monday morning in west Medford described the emotional chaos his family members are suffering as they come to terms with the brutal slayings of Tabasha Paige-Criado and her four children.
"We are saddened and angry and hurt and stricken with grief over the loss of my sister and her kids," Jesse Adams said.
Adams, 32, of Phoenix, Ariz., and his wife, 30-year-old Heidi Adams, spoke at the Best Western Horizon Inn on Thursday morning.
Less than a mile away, 51-year-old Jordan Criado, who police suspect stabbed his family then set their west Medford house on fire, lay in Rogue Valley Medical Center in a condition hospital officials describe as nonresponsive. He requires mechanical ventilation to help him breathe.
Paige-Criado has five brothers and sisters.
Adams said though it was difficult dealing with the thought that Criado may have killed the family, he has tried to find a way to reconcile himself with his brother-in-law.
"We want Jordan to know he has been forgiven and that he will have to deal with this himself," he said. "So God has taken my family out of the wicked garden and put them in the heavenly garden."
The tragedy has been particularly difficult on Paige-Criado's mother, Gwen Crowles, who lives in Bakersfield, Calif., the family's hometown.
"My mom — I can't even imagine the pain she's holding back," he said.
Adams and his wife appeared overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the local community. They thanked the first responders who tried for 45 minutes to resuscitate the family members on the lawn of their house at 1027 W. 10th St.
A 30-year-old local woman, who wants to remain anonymous because of an abusive relationship in her past, has spearheaded an effort to help the family find lodgings, meals and financial assistance.
The Best Western is providing a free room for the couple and their two children. The Black Bear Diner is providing them meals, and Sherm's is offering its support.
Darby Stricker, general manager of the Best Western, said the anonymous local woman approached her on Tuesday.
"She asked if we were willing to help," she said. "There is only one answer to that."
Stricker said Best Western and other local businesses have agreed to help with the couple's traveling expenses.
"Only in Medford do people from every corner of the town come together to help people," she said.
Pastor Peter Slusher of Community Bible Church in Central Point said the local woman didn't know anything about the family, but stepped up immediately.
The woman, who has children herself, called local businesses and asked Slusher if he could help out.
"She has been very good at providing behind-the-scenes help," Slusher said.
The Adamses said they had received calls and other moral support from the community.
"There have been so many people offering their condolences," Adams said. "It has been overwhelming."
His wife said, "We want to thank the community and everybody out there who is praying for us."
The family, who had driven up from Phoenix, said they have hardly slept since receiving the news of the Criados' deaths on Monday.
Adams said he's hoping to find out more about his sister's life in Southern Oregon when the vigil is held at 9 p.m. today at Hawthorne Park. Participants are encouraged to start arriving at 8:30 p.m.
"I would love to know what made Tabasha special for you," he said. "I would love to know what made the kids special to you."
Adams said the family wasn't particularly bothered that Criado had served prison time as a sex offender.
"We've all done things in our past that we're not proud of," Adams said.
Adams and his wife have visited the Criados' home. The Adamses are hoping to get inside to gather some of the belongings of Paige-Criado and her children, Elijah, 7, Isaac, 6, Andrew, 5, and Aurora, 2.
They also hope to transport the bodies back to Bakersfield.
Adams described his sister as full of life with an extraordinary personality who cared for her children.
"We love you Tabasha, Andrew, Elijah, Isaac and Aurora," Adams said.
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.