DEL MAR HEIGHTS (NEWS 8) - A brother and sister, ages 10 and 7, killed in a condo fire late last month were laid to rest Friday morning in Miramar following a funeral ceremony attended by family, friends and classmates.
Loved ones packed Grace Point Church in Del Mar Heights to celebrate the lives of Cristos and Bella Lopez, ages 10 and 7. They were killed in the early hours of the morning Saturday, October 28 when a fire broke out in their second-floor condo in Rancho Bernardo.
Their mother Nikia spoke through tears but said that she was finding strength in community support. Classmates of Cristos (5th grade) and Bella (2nd grade) at Sunset Hills Elementary School in Poway were invited up on stage during the ceremony to express their grief.
The two children and their father, 37-year-old Henry Lopez, were found unresponsive and pulled from the blaze by firefighters. Cristos and Bella were pronounced dead at the hospital and their father remains hospitalized. The parents were reportedly in the middle of a divorce and the children stayed with their father on weekends.
Court records showed that Nikia claimed Henry made threatening comments toward her in a divorce filing six weeks before the fire occurred.
On Sept. 17, the two were texting after Nikia claimed Henry missed a mortgage payment on the condo they both owned, but he lived in with the kids on weekends.
She wrote, "we briefly discussed our plan to sell the house and he wrote, 'I will fight you Nikia. Be ready.'" According to the documents, minutes later, he again texted "I will burn all this down" and "U drew first blood."
Nikia's mother then called Henry. She wrote "he went into a rage and said 'this is war!' He said 'I'm going to kill her.' I asked about it and he said 'I got people. I have the mafia.'"
Nikia said there was a history of domestic violence during their 8-year marriage and also claimed that Henry had an issue with alcohol abuse and became aggressive when he drinks.
She pointed to a 2016 incident where she says Henry assaulted her and "sunk his teeth into my shoulder, breaking the skin.... I tried to push him off with my hand and he bit my hand." Adding "my daughter dialed 911."
Arson and homicide investigators are looking into what started the fire and no cause has officially been determined.