They never had a chance to know Dallis or Dakota Bentley, or see them grow up in their corner of Woodside. The twin babies were just 46 days old when the person who gave them life allegedly took it from them.
Woodside residents continue to reel from the horrific murders of the Bentley twins, who were found dead at the Woodside Houses on 51st Street on the afternoon of April 22. On Monday night, community members gathered outside the public housing complex to mourn their deaths with a candlelight vigil.
The twins’ mother, 23-year-old Danezja Kilpatrick, currently faces first- and second-degree murder charges in connection with the shocking murder. She’s currently being held in jail without bail, and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
After the news of the heart-wrenching April 22 discovery spread, a shrine to the newborns popped up just outside of NYCHA complex.
Before the vigil even began, passersby could not help but look upon the collection of candles, signs and stuffed animals with shaking heads and heavy hearts, some even commenting to themselves, “All she had to do was bring them to me.”
The April 26 vigil was led by Reverend Oswald Denis and joined by state Attorney General Letitia James, NYPD Housing PSA 9 Captain Christopher Giambrone, President of Woodside Houses Tenants Association Annie Cotton Morris and community members.
Beginning with a prayer and surrounded by a circle of those clutching candles and the strings of balloons, Denis’ eyes welled up as he repeated the twins’ names.
James also spoke, telling the gathering that she could not get the babies out of her mind.
“We should not grieve alone; we have to grieve together as a community. But I also know that God loves the little babies. He loves the little children, and he loves twins in particular — two hearts that beat as one, two hearts that were born, and now two hearts that have gone on to be with our lord and savior,” James said.
Attendees wiped away tears from their eyes as speakers memorialized the newborns. Saying their final farewell, the mourners released balloons into the night sky as they spoke the babies’ names.
After the vigil, some took a knee beside the shrine and said silent prayers.
Natalie, a fellow resident of Woodside Houses, kneeled beside the flickering flames and reflected on the last number of days and the few times she had seen Kilpatrick with the twins while taking her own son to school. Natalie described the mother as seeming merely tired.
She told amNewYork Metro that she believes Kilpatrick suffered from postpartum depression, since she too experienced the disorder after giving birth.
“Postpartum depression really is real for us women; a lot of people don’t understand that it is a big thing. My child is now 3 years old, and I went through it with my own situation. But I had help because I asked for help. Some people ask for help and some don’t, but I am sympathetic of whatever she was going through,” Nataile said after the vigil.
Kilpatrick faces a maximum sentence of life without parole if convicted.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.