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Son, daughter of Tampa murder victims speak a year later

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Tiana Vause and Ben Kowalewski Tiana Vause and Ben Kowalewski
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The children of two sisters killed in their home in Tampa a year ago asked for the public's help Friday morning to solve the case.

A friend discovered Linda J. Helms, 62, and Vickie Sterling, 54, dead in different rooms in their home at 808 Lotus Ave on April 12, 2012.

Tiana Vause, daughter of Vickie Sterling, and Ben Kowalewski, son of Linda Helms, offered a reward for any tips that lead to an arrest.

"I have been trying to put pieces of the puzzle together since this happened and I can't," Vause said.

Vause, who is eight months pregnant, said it was difficult to realize that her mother would not be there for the baby.

"Just knowing that I won't have her to be there for me, or my son," Vause said before tearing up.

She told us Sterling was finishing school to work in the medical field, and her older sister Linda Helms was helping her out with that.

"In the last 8 months of her life, she finished her schooling, which she was so happy for and I was so proud of her," Vause said.

Ben Kowalewski told reporters that the sisters were always close friends. He says it's hard for his whole family to live knowing the person who killed them in still out there.

"I can't sleep at night anymore, because I go through scenarios in my head," Kowalewski said.

Tampa Police investigated the case as a double homicide. Major Brian Dugan says detectives believe the sisters willingly let the killer into their home.

"We believe, based on the crime scene, which is their home, where they were living the they knew the person who came and did this," he said.

The sisters lived in their home for many years. Neighbors describe them as kind.

"They are very nice women," neighbor Chastity Delorey said a year ago about the event. "For anything to happen to the two of them in any bad way, I wouldn't expect anything like that. This is a shocker."

Vause and Kowalewski will be distributing flyers with the case information in the Tampa Bay area over the next few days, hoping people who know anything about the case come forward. There is a $1,000 reward being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

Anyone with information about the case can contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay online or at 1-800-873-TIPS.

 

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