FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The family of a woman and three young children who were killed in their Fort Wayne home are shedding more light on the lives of those victims.
Sarah Zent and her children were found dead in a bedroom Wednesday morning. A relative went to the home that morning and found the victims. Zent was on the floor next to a bed that held the bodies of 5-year-old Carter, 3-year-old Ashton and their 2-year-old sister Aubree.
"It's devastating. It's just absolutely devastating. To see the scene and then to see the body bags brought out, it's more than a single person can bear," said Stacey Davis, who married into Zent's family 20 years ago and remained close after a divorce.
Davis was designated by the family to be their spokesperson following the tragedy.
"The family saw way more than they should have, and they're going to have nightmares for the rest of their lives," Davis said in an exclusive interview with WPTA-TV in Fort Wayne.
Until now, police had said they didn't know the relationship between Zent and the 21-year-old suspect accused of the murders, Cohen Hancz-Barron. Davis said Thursday the pair had a prior romantic relationship, but that Hancz-Barron had recently been living at her home as a friend, convincing her he wanted to turn his life around.
"She had realized probably within the last week or 10 days that he really didn't want to work that out, that he just was hiding from the police, and was devising a strategy to get him out of her house. So we suspect that that possibly is part of the motivation. But other than that, we really don't know," Davis said.
Hancz-Barron was arrested Wednesday in Lafayette.
Davis said Zent has a large family that is trying to cope with their tragic loss. Relatives have received a lot of support from the community, she said.
"The grandma and I sat and looked at tons of pictures of them last night, and she told me all kinds of stories about them. They really had a love of life and were beautiful children," Davis told WPTA.
Davis said Zent and her sister lived with her for two years when they were young.
"She was ornery. Her and her sister both, they were just full of life and spunk. And even as adults, they didn't have a problem telling you how it was, and you never had a problem knowing how you stood with them," she said.
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Recently, Davis said Zent had been doing well after getting her life back on track and regaining custody of her three children.
"She was on a good path, and she loved her babies. Her babies were everything to her," she said.
A family member set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses.