At least 100 people turned out for a candlelight vigil in downtown Taylorsville Sunday to honor the memory of Maria Calderon and her two children, Angel and America Pacheco.

The three were killed last weekend. Areli Aguirre-Avilez, Calderon’s ex-husband, and Heidi Darlene Wolfe are charged with murder in the case.

Sunday’s vigil was an opportunity to honor the three victims.

Donna Perkins, an employee of Hiddenite Elementary School, said she knew Angel, 11, and America, 12 at the school.

“They were very sweet children,” Perkins said. “(It’s) very tragic.”

The Rev. Paul Sink of Taylorsville Presbyterian Church and Father Jose Camilo Cardenas-Bonilla of Holy Trinity Catholic Church began the ceremony with remarks about the deaths and the impact on the community.

Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman choked up as he addressed Esteban Pacheco, the father of the children, who was in the crowd.

He said the large turnout was a show of the support the community had for Pacheco and his family.  “We’re going to be here with you,” Bowman.

Bowman also took some time to address the problem of domestic violence.

“Folks, we got to do something about these domestic violence orders,” Bowman said. “These orders is no good and I’m saying no good except the individuals abide by them. If they don’t abide by them, they ain’t worth the paper they’re wrote on.”

Bowman said he hoped the death of Calderon and the three children would inspire the courts to find more effective ways of protecting victims of domestic violence.

Lisa Clontz, director of the Shelter Home of Caldwell County, echoed Bowman’s sentiments, saying domestic orders can give domestic violence victims a “false sense of security.”

Clontz encouraged those in need to seek out the services Shelter Home offers, including crisis intervention, support groups, counseling, legal advocacy and emergency shelter.

“Don’t continue to keep the family’s worst secret a secret any longer,” Clontz said. “Please let us help you.”

For more information on shelter home services, call 828-635-8850. ​

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Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.

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