'I will always be proud': York community bids farewell to the slain sisters
It was a somber Saturday as the York community gathered to mourn two little girls who were abducted by their father and killed last month.
About a hundred people bid their final farewells as Aaminah Vicosa, 6, and Giana Vicosa, 7, were carried in two white caskets and laid to rest at Susquehanna Memorial Gardens in York Township.
Their mother, Marisa (Ayala) Vicosa, sobbed as she released two doves, symbolizing the girls' journey home together. Family members then hugged and held her tight as they cried.
“The both of you have filled me with more happiness than I could have imagined,” she said in a letter to the girls that was shared with mourners. “You both made me so proud each and every day. I will always be proud of how kind, loving, smart and caring you both were.”
They were the best daughters she could ask for and there won’t be a single day when she won’t miss them, their mother said. The girls gave her comfort during the darkest days with their loving hearts and happiness through their laughter, she wrote.
Their maternal uncle, Agustin Ayala, 37, kissed the coffins before he helped bury his nieces. The girls were surrounded by not only family and friends but also by strangers who had heard their tragic story.
"We're not going to let this ruin our family. The evil in all this — that was the goal — was for our family to be ruined, and we're not going to let it happen,” Agustin Ayala said.
Robert Vicosa, 41, a former Baltimore County cop, abducted his daughters about Nov. 14 from a home in Windsor Township, allegedly with the help of Baltimore County Police Sgt. Tia Bynum, 36.
Vicosa took the girls and went on the run with Bynum after allegedly assaulting the girls' mother. Police tracked them down in Maryland following a four-day manhunt.
All were discovered shot Nov. 18 inside a stolen Ford Edge following a police pursuit just south of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.
"My sister is a very strong woman and if anybody can do it — she can," Agustin Ayala said. "I let her know that I'm here and the rest of the community is here to back her up. We got her back no matter what."
Dozens of people then came together for a repast at the former Helen Thackston Charter School's gym, which was decorated with some of the girls' favorite colors, pink and purple.
A multi-agency review of the handling of the murder of the Vicosa sisters will be undertaken, York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said.
Meanwhile, York Area Regional Police Chief Timothy Damon faces a private criminal complaint, filed Nov. 15, in relation to his agency's handling of a protection-from-abuse order filed against Vicosa that was issued prior to the kidnapping.
Agustin Ayala declined to comment on the handling of the investigation by police but noted that the truth will come to light once things are in place.
"The whole situation is going to come out. It's going to come out because it's not finished yet. It's a deep and dark story," Agustin Ayala said but didn't elaborate. "We're going to remember our angels and all the beautiful memories."
— Reach Harper Ho at email@example.com or on Twitter at @howdyhoharper. Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.