Two "inseparable" six-year-old cousins were on their way home from their first soccer game of the season when their minivan was struck by a man police say was going nearly 100 miles per hour in a stolen vehicle.
Penelope Jasko and Eleanor McBride were both pronounced dead at an Ohio hospital.
“They were born nearly together, they did most everything together, and they left together,” girls’ step-grandfather, Ted Blackshear, told the Dayton Daily News. “They were best friends.”
Penelope Jasko’s mother, Melissa Jasko, had just finished returning a book to the library and was pulling away from the curb when the minivan carrying Jasko, her six children and her sister’s daughter, was struck by a stolen police cruiser that had run a red light.
Dayton Police say Raymond Walters Jr. stabbed his father in a pickup truck, crashed that vehicle and then stole the police cruiser, People reports.
A total of 10 injuries and two fatalities resulted from the crash.
Two of Melissa Jasko’s other children remain hospitalized in critical condition, the local paper reports.
The Rev. Tony Cutcher, pastor at St. Peter Catholic Church which both girls’ families attend, said the two cousins were often together.
“They were more like twin sisters than cousins,” he said. “They were so close.”
When the fatal crash occurred, Walters had been out of prison less than a month after serving time for a felony robbery conviction, according to WHIO. Walters had moved in with his father, Lloyd “Bear” Walters. Lloyd’s lifelong friend, Jason Butts, told the local station that Raymond had been using drugs after his release from prison and was sometimes delusional.
Butts had contacted the man’s parole officer after becoming concerned that Walters might hurt his father.
Raymond allegedly stab Lloyd 14 times in his truck before taking off in the police cruiser. Lloyd survived the attack and later told The Dayton Daily News that his son did not seem to know who he was at the time and that he had been planning to take him to get medical help when the stabbing occurred.
According to Lloyd, his son suffered from mental problems and did not seem the same after being released from prison. His father described him as paranoid and said he continued to look for his mother at the home, even though she died in June.
“He wasn’t the same,” Lloyd said. “He just started acting different.”
He said he tried to take his son to a residential drug treatment facility the week before the fatal crash, but the center didn’t have any open beds.
Lloyd now said he feels terrible about the lives that were lost.
“My heart goes out to them,” he said of the families. “I’m very sorry that happened. … I’d give my life for them, if I could.”
Raymond Walters also has had previous convictions for felony theft, drug possession and robbery.
Crime Time is your destination for true crime stories from around the world, breaking crime news, and information about Oxygen's original true crime shows and documentaries. Sign up for our Crime Time Newsletter and subscribe to our true crime podcast Martinis & Murder for all the best true crime content.