SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla. - It's an unthinkable crime: the lives of three little girls and their mother cut tragically short by their own father. The murders of Maria Nava and her young daughters have shocked Southwest Florida, and have deeply affected the investigators and first reponders who witnessed the awful scene for themselves.
"We're human beings too," said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott. "Yeah we have badges and fancy uniforms, but at the end of the day, we're intimately engaged with this, and it's trying on our folks."
Sheriff Scott says while he and other veteran law enforcement officers are no strangers to death, the images inside the home at Phlox and Winged Foot Drives on Sunday have taken a heavy psychological toll.
"Think about our crime scene people for example," said Scott. "They're not just there to see it and take a picture, take a measurement. They're there all day long for hours on end in that environment."
That's why Scott says he and his deputies look out for one another. He says a crime scene like this is anything but easy to process, so counseling is offered to anyone who feels it's just a bit too much.
"We do what we can to make sure our folks are aren't getting too involved personally, try to maintain a professional distance," he said. "But it's tough. It's tough for me, it's tough for everybody here."
And just as the community leans on each other for support, so do the officers involved in the investigation.
"This is the worst we've ever had," said Scott. "We've had other similar, but never to this level. It's a very big deal for us at the Sheriff's Office, as it is for our community."