GILBERT, Ariz. -“I just didn’t know what I was going into," Paula Testa said outside her home Wednesday afternoon. "Never in my wildest nightmare would I ever have guessed what I went into.”
Testa had gone to check on her friend, Lisa Gerhart. She hadn't heard from Gerhart and Testa's son hadn't seen Gerhart's 17-year-old son Kyle at work that day.
Testa said she approached Gerhart's house and saw a parked car, engine running, a hose snaking to the house. She called 911. The dispatcher told her to stay where she was.
“I asked 'Can I break through the window?'" Testa said. "She said 'No, don’t do anything because we don’t know what’s in there.'"
Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputies arrived and found Gerhart, her daughter Emily, 12, and Kyle, dead. Investigators believe in addition to the carbon monoxide from the car, Gerhart had shot and killed her children and then herself.
“This was not Lisa," Testa said.
She said she kept repeating those words on the phone with 911.
Gerhart and her husband had apparently split. They have another daughter who lives out of state.
Testa said she can't imagine what would have driven Gerhart to kill herself and her children.
"There is an overwhelming sense of feeling hopeless, helpless, Testa said. "And l can’t do anything."