‘It’s just so devastating’: Family of murdered Kissimmee officer loses another father figure after grandfather dies of COVID-19

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The man who stepped in as a father figure for the three daughters of a Kissimmee police officer who was murdered in the line of duty three years ago died last week of COVID-19.

“It’s just so devastating,” said Sadia Baxter, the widow of fallen officer Matthew Baxter.

Baxter was killed in the line of duty along with Sgt. Sam Howard in August 2017.

READ: Kissimmee officer’s widow says ‘justice was served’ as jury recommends death for cop killer

Sadia’s father, Athar Siddiqui, had stepped in as a second dad for their daughters Sariah, 10, Zarah, 5, and Sofia, 4. For three years, the girls have had “Daddy Athar” and “Daddy Matthew.”

Now both of them, the girls say, are looking down on them from heaven.

“Our two daddies, they both got in heaven and we really miss them so much,” Zarah said.

READ: Coronavirus pandemic delays justice in some Central Florida high-profile criminal cases

Sadia said her father was a healthy 70-year-old when he tested positive for the virus last week.

Days later, he went to the emergency room and was put on a ventilator before he died.

“My dad was amazing,” Sadia said. “So we’re trying to adjust to a new normal and I don’t know if we’ll find it or when we’ll find that new normal.”

READ: ‘I am forced to raise my girls without their daddy,’ Kissimmee officer’s widow testifies

In addition to taking on the role of father again at 70 years old, Sariah said Daddy Athar was also her best friend.

“I told him how my school day was. I told him everything about my life,” she said. “And he always stood there by my side.”

Sariah said she wishes she could just thank him one more time.

READ: How many COVID-19 variants are there? What you need to know

“I love you so much,” Sariah said she wishes she he could tell him. “You did an amazing job raising us, and I hope you have a lot of peace in your mind and I hope I see you again.”

But they all have peace believing Daddy Athar and Daddy Matthew are now rejoicing in heaven together.

READ: White House announces more COVID-19 vaccines to be sent to pharmacies next week

“We have our faith that we hold on to so we’re just extremely grateful,” Sadia said.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.