KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Still in shock Wednesday, family members mourned the loss of a woman and her two children who were killed when she drove her car into the Kalamazoo River.
Family members of Ineza McClinton, 44, and her 9-year-old twin daughters Angel and Faith left a makeshift memorial of balloons, flowers and stuffed animals at the Verburg Park boat launch, where McClinton drove into the water Monday night.
Jeanette McClinton, Ineza McClinton’s sister, said the family still can’t believe what happened.
“I’m going to miss my nieces. I really am. People loved them,” McClinton said. “Just words can’t explain, you know. We (are) all hurt and grieving about this.”
Family members said Ineza McClinton also had two grandchildren in the car but let them out before she drove into the river. Good Samaritan Valencia Scott was passing through the area when she noticed the girls in distress.
“When they got in the car … the older girl said … ‘Grandma let us out. She told us to get out and then she drove into the ocean.’ And at first we weren’t really sure what she was saying and then she said it a couple more times and that led me to believe something had happened,” Scott recalled.
She stopped and took them to a nearby Walgreens to meet up with police and an uncle.
Family members on the girls’ father’s side are also trying to process the unthinkable loss. One of the twins’ uncles, Lonnie Marshall, said he first learned about the loss from the girls’ paternal grandmother.
“I just heard my mother screaming and crying and I didn’t know what was going on and so I came to see what was wrong,” Marshall said.
He says the girl’s father, Lamar Marshall, is serving time in prison and was notified Tuesday that he lost his only children.
“I’m sure he’s just trying to be strong right now, especially where he is,” Marshall said.
He recalled the twins as amazing girls who loved life.
“They were just beautiful little girls, fun-loving little girls. They looked just like their dad,” Marshall said.
Like McClinton’s family, he couldn’t believe they were gone.
Family members are concerned about covering the cost of funeral expenses. They have set up a GoFundMe page to accept donations.