A baby and two toddlers spent three days home alone with their mum's dead body after she was brutally murdered in front of them.
The four-week-old and the toddlers were with their 30-year-old parent's corpse for at least three days after she was stabbed to death in her apartment, according to police.
Shavone Robinson's body was discovered by officers in Phoenix in US state Arizona on May 17.
Relatives told US news outlet ABC15 Shavone had been repeatedly stabbed while the kids were present.
"It makes it even worse. It makes us so sad," said Kika Robinson, Shavone's older sister.
She added that the youngsters had been traumatised by their terrifying ordeal.
"They're getting a lot of counselling, but it's really traumatising for them. And for us, we kind of feel helpless," she said.
"All we can do is hug them and hold them and try to calm them down, but that's still a void we cannot fill no matter how hard we try."
Police were alerted to the crime after the toddlers were spotted crying on the balcony of their apartment block.
"It breaks my heart that they were in there and they saw that, and I know that those images will never ever leave their head," Kika said.
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Fajah Fox, Shavone's niece, added: "It’s really to the point where you’re not sad anymore, you’re just mad."
Her family also fear the killer may have stayed with the body and children before police arrived.
"In my opinion, I think somebody was still in there [after the murder]," said Kika.
Danielle Williams, another of Shavone's nieces, added: "Because [the kids] weren’t malnourished when they found them."
Police said no arrests had been made, but have offered a $1,000 (£720) reward for information.
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Her relatives said they were growing frustrated with the police investigation after they found the dead mum's mobile phone days after officers cleared the crime scene.
"It’s like, 'what were you guys doing?'" said Danielle.
The family added that it was focused on looking after Shavone's young kids.
"We just hug them love them as much as we can," said Kika. "The little baby is growing, she's eating more, she's making her little baby sounds. So we try to focus on positive things."
But they admitted they are desperate to bring the killer to justice.
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"You took something from these children's life that's irreplaceable," said Kika. "If you know something, just please speak up."
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