GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Friday, Guilderland police said 27-year old Caitlin Melville shot and killed her 5-year-old daughter before turning the gun on herself.
Caitlin’s older sister, Michelle, told NEWS10 ABC that she wants people to remember her as the person she was and not who she became.
“She was very intelligent. She had a great sense of humor. She was loving. She gave until she didn’t have anymore to give,” she said.
Michelle said that despite what happened inside 169 Schoolhouse Rd. on Friday, she knows how much Caitlin loved her daughter. Michelle described her niece as a little spit fire.
“You never knew what she was gonna say next.”
Michelle said their family is stunned and still trying to wrap their heads around it all. She told NEWS10 that Caitlin had suffered from depression for years. About a week ago, however, her boyfriend suddenly passed away, and Caitlin was having a hard time.
“Her life got flipped upside down in one day, so that definitely took it’s toll,” said Michelle.
Michelle said she had driven from Buffalo to spend time with Caitlin last weekend to help keep her mind off of things.
“I thought she was making progress, but unfortunately, that was not the case. That’s never a phone call you want to get. That’s never a scene you want to discover,” she said.
Michelle said if there’s anything to take away from this, it’s to never hesitate to reach out for help.
“You don’t want to burden the people around you with what you’re going through, so the natural reaction in today’s society is to bottle it up and put on that happy face and tell everyone you’re ok, but that doesn’t help you. If you’re coming up to a time where you can’t work through it on your own, reach out to somebody. I guarantee you there is somebody out there who wants you to succeed and wants you to be ok and wants to help you,” she said.
For parents with children who knew her niece and may be looking for a way to remember or honor her short life, Michelle suggested a trip to Arby’s.
“Go out to Arby’s and get a roast beef sandwich. That was my niece’s favorite thing to do. Just about every time I was up here we would go to Arby’s and she would pick it up one slice at a time and just leave the bread there.”