KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The family of Tia Obrero, the Kauai woman who was brutally murdered by her husband last week, says they’re trying to adjust to this heartbreaking reality.
"It has been devastating to say the least," said Sandee Aqui, Obrero's mother. "First it's shock and disbelief, then the truth really starts to sink in."
Last Thursday, the 26-year-old was found dead at Kitchen’s Beach in Wailua. Autopsy results say she died of blunt force injuries and strangulation.
Her husband, Michael Blackstad, also 26, was found the next day at another beach about a mile away. Investigators say he drowned and had shark bites.
Obrero and Blackstad were recently married.
Aqui says the family is working together to look after the couple's children, 4-year-old Mia and 8-month-old Milo.
She says it's devastating trying to explain to Mia her parents are gone.
"She doesn't fully understand yet because one minute she'll tell somebody her mommy and daddy died, and the next minute she's saying, 'when my mommy and daddy come back, I want to show them this.'"
Aqui says her daughter was beautiful, both inside and out. She says Tia was kind, an exceptional athlete, and known for her sense of humor.
"She was funny. Oh my god, she was funny. She was definitely a joy to have around," said Aqui.
Aqui says she's overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the community.
"People have stopped by with diapers and baby food and food. I'm grateful and thankful to all of them who have reached out to touch our family at this time because they have truly made a difference in this last week," said Aqui.
She says she hopes this tragedy raises awareness about the dangers of domestic violence. And while their family is hurting, she says they're trying to forgive.
"Forgiveness is not for that person to let them off the hook for what they've done. Forgiveness is for you, so that you can let go of whatever feelings you've got so that you can move on," Aqui said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Mia and Milo.