SANDY, Utah – The family of the Sandy man accused of stabbing his father and sister are speaking out about the violent encounter.
“Honestly, it’s been just like a roller coaster; I’m angry and then I’m sad,” said Atu Vaitai.
She and her sister, Ana Da Silva, are leaning on each other. They’re trying to come to terms with a violent attack police say happened inside their parents Sandy home on May 13.
Sandy Police say their brother, 26-year-old Sione Vaitai, stabbed his father and 14-year-old sister with a machete.
“There was no family dispute at all; It was just so sudden,” Vaitai said.
Da Silva said they have some ideas about what pushed their relative to violence.
“My brother did have mental issues, and I know that drugs had a role in it as well,” Da Silva said.
Sione Vaitai was on the run for two days until police tracked him down in St. George. He led them on a chase before he was taken into custody. He’s now in the Salt Lake County Jail. The investigation is ongoing.
In the meantime, his father and younger sister were in the hospital with serious injuries.
“It was pretty severe. Just a lot of defense wounds on their arms and head,” Da Silva said.
The father was released from the hospital Wednesday and checked into rehab. The sister has a few more days in the hospital until she can start her rehabilitation.
The sisters say Sione was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but never showed any aggression toward anyone in their family.
“He’s a jokester," Vaitai said. "He’s a really good guy. I know his friends love him too, and there are so many people who know him, the good side of him too."
They wish their brother would have sought professional help, and they encourage other families to keep trying if they have a loved one who is battling mental health issues.
While their emotional scars will take time to heal, they relayed a message of forgiveness to their brother.
“He is a good person amongst everything that’s been going on," Da Silva said. "As his sister, I can sit here and say that we still love him. If he happens to see this, I just want him to know that my dad still loves him, and we hope he gets the help he needs.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses.