LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Thomas Purdy stands quietly at a memorial filled with balloons, stuffed animals, precious photographs and candles honoring his life partner, 31-year-old Kathleen Payton, and her 10-year-old daughter, Jazmine Payton-Aguayo.
He said they were his world. Purdy said he beamed with joy when Jazmine expressed love and respect for him as a father figure.
“It went from Daddy Thomas to (just calling him) Daddy,” he said of his relationship with the girl.
Payton and her daughter were killed in a fire that raged early on Halloween at the Tiffany Square apartments in Lakewood. Police are searching for two juvenile suspects they say intentionally set the fire. The investigation has elevated from arson to homicide.
Purdy said he will always regret not being home to protect his family.
“I was supposed to be here to either try to help them, us, get out or die with them, and that’s our pact rule,” he said.
Payton’s aunt, Janelle Comacho, said, “She wasn’t just my niece, but she was my best friend.”
Both Purdy and Comacho told FOX31 that the thought of two juveniles setting the fire that also displaced 32 families from 14 units is unbearable.
“They didn’t think about themselves, they didn’t think about their future, they didn’t think about their family,” Purdy said.
Camacho is calling for justice for all who were affected.
“I feel the parents should be held accountable as well as the children, because at that hour of the morning, 4 o’clock in the morning, and