NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- We have new information as the investigation continues into an apparent murder-suicide in Northampton last week.

The Northwestern District Attorney's office has identified the victims as 24-year-old Karina Nieves and 26-year-old Nelson Cardona.

"This is very sad. This is a very sad day here," said Betty Medina Lichtenstein with Enlace de Familias.

The staff at Enlace de Familias in Holyoke are still trying to cope with the news that Nieves and Cardona died, leaving behind their three young daughters.

"We assisted them with a variety of information and referrals," Lichtenstein explained.

Lichtenstein, the resource center's executive director, told Western Mass News that the family came to western Massachusetts one year ago after Puerto Rico was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.

"I do believe that what happened to this very young couple, that the trauma from Puerto Rico, definitely played a major role in them. It’s heartbreaking. For children to lose their parent, not to mention both parents at the same time, and that they’re young children, I can’t even imagine what’s going on with them now and what’s going to play out in the years to come," Lichtenstein added.

Lichtenstein said that Hurricane Maria wasn't the only trauma this young family experienced.

"They had already experienced trauma in Puerto Rico and then they witnessed trauma here when the apartment they were living in was in a building that caught fire. No sooner do you get yourself somewhat in a comfort zone, if they even felt that, to then have to be a fire victim and then move again when meanwhile you’re in a strange land," Lichtenstein noted.

The Northwestern District Attorney's office said that the couple's daughters are safe and being cared for. That includes receiving comfort from the Northampton Police Department's new therapy dog.

"He laid right next to the girls through the whole thing. They were here in the station walking him a round on his leash, really caring for him, and when they needed him the most, he was laying right there with him, letting them hug him and pet him and rub his head when they were talking with people. He really did a good job," said Northampton Police Officer Josh Wallace.

The D.A.'s office said that the incident is still under investigation.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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