Man's family speaks out after teen charged with his murder - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Lawrence man's family speaks out after teen charged with his murder

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Police believe Sarah Brooke Gonzales McLinn, 19, killed 52-year-old Harold Sasko then drove his car to Florida where she was arrested. Police believe Sarah Brooke Gonzales McLinn, 19, killed 52-year-old Harold Sasko then drove his car to Florida where she was arrested.
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LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

A family has an interesting message to the woman accused of killing their loved one.

Sarah Brooke Gonzales McLinn, 19, was charged Monday with first-degree murder in the death of a businessman whose Lawrence home she shared.

Police believe she killed 52-year-old Harold Sasko then drove his car to Florida where she was arrested. They say she had been hiding out in the Everglades for more than a week.

There are many people mourning Sasko - his daughter, friends and former employees. He was also one of 12 siblings scattered across the country.

At first there was nothing but questions, but now, with answers finally coming in, Sasko's family says it is time to remember him.

"He was a good quality man. He was an honest person. He loves people to death. He'll give his life for them," Sasko's sister, Linda Dupont, said.

And that's exactly what Sasko's siblings believe he did for McLinn.

She had worked for him in one of his CiCi's Pizza restaurants, and family says he always tried to help his young employees there.

In this case, they say he believed McLinn was in trouble and that he took her in to his home, hoping to give her some stability.

Joe Sasko, who lives in Oklahoma, said he helped his brother open the first CiCi's in Topeka.

"I knew then that he was happy with his decision on what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. We did not know then it would be cut short by someone he was trying to help with their life. I am glad that she was found and that she will be tried for her crimes," Joe Sasko said in a written statement.

He went on to say that McLinn was never a victim.

"You have hope for them. When they're young, they can get help. If you see some areas that aren't very healthy, you say well hopefully they can be helped. If I give them a stable life, they can grow past their problems," Dupont said.

But Harold Sasko's siblings say some of the things he told them about McLinn worried them.

"I'm not shocked it was her. I'm shocked it happened," Harold Sasko's brother, Glenn Sasko, said.

"Just had a lot of anger, and he would see the anger expressed here and there and it shocked him. He even told me, he said, 'Linda, my God, the anger that came out of her,'" Dupont said.

Despite her pain, Harold Sasko's sister says she prays McLinn can one day forgive herself for what she is accused of doing.

"She's so young and so messed up. It is like, 'can she get help? Can she become a whole person?'" Dupont said.

Harold Sasko's other siblings aren't quite there yet, but they say they can now begin to move forward with their grief.

"Being from a large family like ours, and our mother passing away last year, this senseless act has caused a tremendous pain in my heart. I would like to thank the law enforcement for getting to the bottom of this crime with such quickness," Joe Sasko said.

"I want him to be remembered for the caring person that he was," Glenn Sasko said.

Harold Sasko's 17-year-old daughter said it feels like her heart was ripped out. She said he helped any soul out there, and she'll be the best daughter she can for him.

On Monday, she added she was glad McLinn was found and that the charges don't surprise her.

KCTV5's Alice Barr reached out to McLinn's family but did not hear back.

Police have not released a motive. Authorities say Harold Sasko was killed with an edged instrument and believe he was unconscious when it happened.

As for McLinn, she is still in a Florida prison. Police there say she had drugs on her when they found her. Lawrence police are working on getting her back to Kansas.

If she doesn't fight extradition, they could have her in Lawrence by the end of the week.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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