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East side community holds prayer vigil for siblings killed

Hundreds of people attended the vigil for a brother and sister found murdered in their east Indy apartment.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Hundreds of people attended the vigil for a brother and sister found murdered in their east Indy apartment Sunday night.

The candles are still burning in front of the apartment where the two teens died. The family shared what they believe lead to the violent shooting.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out,” said Antonia Bailey.

She spoke briefly during the vigil in front of family, friends and even strangers. Longtime family friend and community activist Antonio Patton lead the vigil to remember 15-year-old Ashlynn Nelson and her​ 16-year-old brother Nicholas Nelson.

The brother and sister did not survive gunfire Friday morning after someone came to their apartment to buy a cell phone, which was all a set up according to William Nelson.

William Nelson shared with Eyewitness News that he suspects Nicholas did not want his mother to know he arranged to buy a cell phone online.

He believes Nicholas wanted to own a nicer cell phone agreeing to pay money to the so called purchaser he may have exchanged messages with online. But he also suspects their killer never really had a phone for sale.

“I think malicious intent from the beginning but I think maybe he panicked,” said Nelson.

Metro homicide detectives released a photo of a person of interest. They're working on anonymous tips to identify and locate him after being caught on camera.

Vigil organizers called for the killer to come forward and so did his mother.

Then, after the vigil with candles and a balloon release, the grieving mother made a statement to the media. She shared that she not only has forgiven him - but also pleaded he doesn't end up hurt.

“Do not harm him, call the police. I don't want anymore violence," Antonia Bailey said. "I don't want anymore blood shed. I am mad as hell. I am mad. but I forgive you.”

Vigil organizers say they will remember Ashlynn and Nicholas every year because of what happened at their apartment.

The victims' family is just now starting to meet to figure out how they will afford a decent funeral and burial for the brother and sister. Although their mother had a full time job, they never planned on having to lay them to rest at such an early age.

Anyone with information that can help police in this case can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 317-262-TIPS.