Authorities on Wednesday identified four family members as the victims who died after the Yorba Linda home they were in was struck by the debris of a small airplane that broke apart midair on Sunday.
Roy Lee Anderson, 85, and 68-year-old Dahlia Marlies Leber Anderson were at home with Stacie Norene Leber, a 48-year-old from Corona, and Donald Paul Elliott, 58, of Norco, when the aircraft crashed shortly after departing from the Fullerton airport Sunday afternoon.
Neighbors have said the Andersons, a married couple, were hosting a Super Bowl party with their daughter Leber and son-in-law Elliott when they were killed.
Their bodies were so badly charred that coroner's officials could use fingerprints to positively identify only one of the victims, while the other three were identified using dental records, said Carrie Braun, a spokesperson for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Their relatives said they were "devastated" in a statement released Wednesday through the Sheriff's Department.
"Our family bond is tight and each member lost in this tragedy represents more than just one role within our family," the statement read in part. "We lost parents, grandparents, great-parents, spouses, sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. The home lost was a beacon for so many family and friends where many celebrations were held."
They also thanked their family's neighbors, first responders and local officials and law enforcement for their work in the shocking tragedy. "It takes a village," they wrote.
The family concluded by asking for privacy.
Jane Kramer, who lives near the Andersons' home, said the couple was tight-knit with both family and neighbors. She told KTLA they were known in the neighborhood as “Gigi and Grandpa Roy.”
“They were like our grandparents, and they treated us like that," Kramer said. "We swam in their pool, my daughter played in the play room. I sat on their couch and talked to her at length. We loved them like family.”
The plane's pilot and sole occupant, 75-year-old Antonio Pastini also died. Authorities originally said the Gardnerville, Nevada, resident was a retired Chicago police officer, but later said the credentials recovered from the crash site were not legitimate.
A Chicago police spokeswoman told the Orange County Register that the police badge found in the crash had been reported lost in 1978.
In 2008, Pastini told the Nevada Appeal that he had been with the department 21 years before retiring and opening restaurants in northern Nevada, one of which he said "became a cop hangout," according to the Register.
Authorities are still investigating what caused his plane to break apart shortly after taking off, causing its parts to pummel a suburban neighborhood.
The main cabin and one engine were found behind a home at the bottom of a ravine, and the second engine made a hole in a street, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Eliott Simpson told the Associated Press.
Witnesses reported seeing it fall out of a cloud at a high speed before parts like the wings and tail broke off.
"I come out ... it's raining plane parts from the sky," resident Jared Bocachica told KTLA.
Two people on the ground were hospitalized with burns, and a firefighter who responded was also injured, officials said.
A vigil will be held in memory of the four family members killed on the ground Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Glenknoll Elementary School, 6361 Glenknoll Drive in Yorba Linda.
Anyone with debris on their property is asked to call the Sheriff's Department 714-647-7000.