Some students in Tolleson, Phoenix and Casa Grande will go back to school on Monday with an empty seat in their classes. In three separate crimes, police say Valley parents murdered their children over winter break.
On Christmas Day, police say a Casa Grande mother stabbed her ex-husband and poisoned her children, including her 13-year-old daughter, who died from the poison.
On New Year's Day, a Tolleson father shot and killed his two daughters before turning the gun on himself.
And in Phoenix, police say Gary Sherrill, 51, murdered his son, David Sebastien Sherrill, 13, with an ax. According to records, Sherrill told police his son was a demon and believed the teenager was going to eat him.
Now, friends and classmates such as Audra Vance prepare to return to school without those four children.
"I want to go to school everyday being happy but it's going to be a lot different," Vance said. "Losing someone is very hard."
Vance was a close friend of David Sherrill. She says his friends called him by his middle name, Sebastien.
The boy's uncle, Andy Sherrill, shared some of his thoughts and memories of Sebastien at a Sunday night vigil outside the apartment where the teenager was murdered.
"I shed a lot of tears but I have the hope that he's in a better place and that I get to see him another day, and neither of us will be crying then," Andy Sherrill said.
Parents also came to the vigil with their children, Sebastien's friends, hoping the event would bring closure and help with the grieving process.
"I'm concerned about children who are going to be going to school and seeing a chair that's empty now and a little boy missing," parent, Amy Sells said.
Sebastien's friends and classmates will get back on the school bus Monday morning but Vance says she will go back to class heartbroken without her friend.
"I get to wake up tomorrow and grow up and live the rest of my life, and have a family one day and he, he doesn't," she said.
For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.