For two weeks, police said, a 10-year-old girl went to school terrified that her father would kill her and her 2-year-old brother if she told anybody what had happened at home.
Her mother was missing, and her two sisters, ages 13 and 1, had already been killed. Their bodies were locked in an upstairs bedroom of the family's south Charlotte apartment, police said.
So the little girl said nothing - until Monday, when police began to unravel a grisly series of crimes they say were committed by a package handler who hinted at family troubles on his Facebook page.
"What this man did was despicable and cowardly," Homicide Capt. Paul Zinkann told reporters, fighting tears at one point.
"She continued to go to school. ... She felt that she needed to maintain some composure," he said. "She did not ask any questions because she didn't want her little brother killed."