MIAMI (CBS4) – Family members of two young victims of a triple murder paid tribute to the little girls Wednesday as they said their final goodbyes.

“It’s not an easy thing to see little caskets,” said Manny Castro.

But that’s exactly what Castro says he and his family endured Wednesday afternoon as they said their final goodbyes to his great nieces, 8-year-old Julia Padrino and 4-year-old Daniela Padrino.

Both girls‚ along with their mother Gladys Machado, were found dead inside a closet at their home in West Miami Dade.

That gruesome discovery was made more than a week ago, but Castro says it wasn’t until Tuesday the medical examiner’s office released the little girls’ bodies.

“Before it was we don’t believe it,” Castro said. “Some said we won’t believe it until we see, and it’s closed caskets but you see the two caskets and have to accept the fact that yes, this is reality and it did occur.”

The girls’ stepfather 28-year-old Alberto Sierra had his first court appearance Tuesday, where he was denied bond.

Sierra is facing three counts of first degree murder and two counts of sexual battery after police say he confessed to suffocating all three and raping Gladys and one of his stepdaughters after they were both dead.

“It’s gruesome and unexplained. You can’t rationalize it but you have to accept it,” said Castro. “We can’t make it go away. It is what it is, but there is a god.”

Sierra is expected back in court in December. Family members of the victims tell CBS4 News they believe in the justice system and that they plan on being there every step of the way for Sierra’s judicial process.


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