As the world was learning the details about a suicide bomb attack that killed six U.S. Soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a Poway family was learning their lives would never be the same.
Their beloved grandson, son and brother -- 21-year-old Kenneth Necochea Jr. -- was gone. On Tuesday, family members said they were finding strength in their faith and his spirit.
"At first she thought it was one of his friends in uniform and that Kenny was hiding, that he maybe got a early-time home for a little bit," said Brooke Brown, describing the moment hope turned to heartbreak for his daughter, Necochea's mother. "She had the excitement of thinking, 'He's hiding out there.'... Then she saw the second officer get out of the car -- I imagine that was the chaplain -- and that was when she decided she didn't want to answer the door, knowing what was happening."
She did open the door, though, and found out her son -- "Kenny Junior," as the family called him -- was among those killed when a bomb exploded at the entrance to a military base in southern Afghanistan.
Family members said Kenny Junior felt he had found his place and purpose in the army.
"He was proud to be a soldier, and he was proud to be serving his country," Brooke said Tuesday.
The soldier's grandparents said he was extremely close to his brothers and sisters, and was grounded in his faith in God. That faith is now helping the family in their grief
"I think we would be devastated if we knew that's all there was," Brooke said.
"His brother and sister were devastated until they stopped and thought, 'We're going to see him again because he was a Christian and we're Christians, and we know we'll see him again,' " said Vickie Brown, Kenny Junior's grandmother.
They family also are taking comfort in the fact that Kenny Junior died doing what he loved.
"I think if he had it to do it all over again, he would," Brooke said. "I know he would, and I think he just desires for our country to succeed in this mission."