Those who knew Christopher Edwards Jr. and his sister Erin Edwards say the siblings were a gift to the world.
Christopher Jr., 24, was funny and witty, a hard worker, who believed achieving goals should not come at the expense of being kind to others.
Erin, 20, driven to succeed, shared her infectious enthusiasm and boundless optimism with friends, assuring them in tough times, “Sometimes God closes the doors that you’re not supposed to go through, but you’re one step closer to where you’re supposed to be.”
Their mother, Marsha Edwards, an accomplished businesswoman and former wife of prominent local surgeon Dr. Christopher Edwards, raised her two children with love, and doted on them and their many accomplishments, friends and relatives say.
The 58-year-old shared dozens of photos to Facebook of an early August jaunt to Miami with Christopher Jr. for the National Association of Black Journalists conference, followed by a trip she took with Erin to Italy.
“I’ve had the best summer, first with Chris in Miami and Erin in Italy. I could not ask for better children,” Marsha Edwards wrote in an Aug. 21 Instagram post.
Later that day, she would kill those two grown children in her upscale townhouse, police say, then turn the gun on herself.
The crime has stunned people in this capital of the New South. The family was well-known and active in the Atlanta community and were longtime friends of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
On Wednesday, hundreds gathered at a memorial service at Cascade United Methodist Church to celebrate their lives. Bottoms eulogized Christopher Jr. as a “breath of fresh air” and a “true gentleman” who was committed to his work. She described Erin, who previously interned at City Hall, as “poised, graceful, confident and eager to contribute.”
Both had a passion for journalism. Christopher Jr. was a digital content manager for the Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment. Erin was a rising junior at Boston University and had just finished a summer internship with NBC New York.
Their tragic deaths have left the community baffled. Why would Marsha Edwards want to kill herself and the children she appeared to love dearly? Was she suffering a mental illness? Was there a family dispute?
Police have provided no further details as they continue investigating, leaving many unanswered questions about the apparent murder-suicide. On social media, some say they refuse to believe she would murder her kids.
“As we grieve I would encourage you not to focus on what we don’t know but to focus on what we do know,” said Marsha’s niece Kamil “Missy” Finister at the memorial service. “This family is the embodiment of love.”
From the outside, it appeared Marsha Edwards life was one of success.