For the first time since the horrific deaths of her identical twin sister – her “soul mate” – and her two nieces, for whom she moved to Modesto, Kimberley Crews has spoken about her loss.
Crews spoke with The Bee in a seating area of the Franklin and Downs funeral home on McHenry Avenue on Saturday morning before a public memorial held for her family members at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
She declined to speak about the details of the investigation into Martin Martinez, the man police suspect in the slayings, but said she hopes he is sentenced to death.
“To the best of my ability, I do plan on being at every court appearance,” she said. “I want to represent her. I want him to see my face, and I want him to see her face in my face.”
They were all amazing people in their own way. The world is going to be a lot emptier without them. They had a lot left to do here.
Kimberley Crews, on her slain family members
Martinez is the sole suspect in the homicides of Amanda Crews; their 6-month-old daughter, Rachael; and Crews’ 6-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, as well as his own mother, Anna Brown Romero, 57, and a 5-year-old girl whose name has not been released.
Martinez has not been charged in their deaths but is being held on $5 million bail for murder in connection with the October death of 2-year-old Christopher Ripley, another of Crews’ children.
“They were all amazing people in their own way,” Kimberley Crews said of Amanda, Elizabeth, Christopher and Rachael. “The world is going to be a lot emptier without them. They had a lot left to do here.”
Crews said Amanda, a doctor, moved to the area after landing a residency in Stanislaus County that matched her goal of being within a day’s drive of their mother and stepfather, who had relocated from Virginia to Nevada. Amanda soon was pestering Kimberley to join her.
“I said, ‘You know, I can keep my relationship with you and Mom over the phone, and you know, a couple visits a year.’ And I said, ‘You make a baby and I’ll find a job.’ And she texted me a picture of her positive pregnancy with Elizabeth.”
Twins have this unspoken bond ... we got each other on a cellular level. I was her, she was me, and that is a bond that will never be broken.
Kimberley Crews, about her sister, Amanda
Crews said her sister was a music aficionado and liked nearly every genre.
“She would volunteer to work at a local music festival here in California and in exchange get free tickets to the four-day show, and I would go with her,” Crews said.
That eclectic taste in music was evident at Saturday’s service, where songs ranged from Jeff Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah” to Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” to “You Are My Sunshine.”
Elizabeth, too, was a music fan, Crews said.
“There’s a particular band called the Avett Brothers. It’s like Americana and we would play one of their live albums when Elizabeth was little,” Crews said. “She would like to play her little play guitar and we would say, ‘Show me your rock ’n’ roll face. Show me your happy face. Show me your mean face.’”
Crews said the last few weeks have been extremely difficult.
“I feel like I’m climbing not just a mountain but a mountain range. And sometimes it’s linear and one mountain after another, and sometimes it’s horizontal and they’re all coming at me at once,” she said.
If Martinez is convicted of murder, Crews will have the opportunity to read a victim impact statement to him, but that could be years from now.
If she could talk to him today, she said, “I would tell him he has taken away many future generations of our family. ... He’s taken away our future in a lot of ways.”