Before the terrible things happened, the Scheetz family and the Thomas family were friends.

Lisa Scheetz and her three daughters were frequent visitors at Leeton and Donna Thomas' home, just a five-minute walk around a corner from the home the Scheetzes lived in on Spring Valley Road in a rural area of East Drumore Township.

Social media accounts show the two families' children sitting together on a sofa. In a few photos, Lisa Scheetz, 44, is seen hugging one of the Thomases' sons, who she calls "my little dimple dumpling," during a breakfast out at a restaurant. In another photo on Mrs. Thomas' Facebook account, one of the Scheetz daughters, in her pajamas, is curled up with a pillow.

But by 2014, the families' friendship came to an end, when Scheetz told police that two of her daughters had told her that Leeton Thomas had sexual contact with them.

Thomas was charged with felony sexual molestation charges, and released on $5,000 bail.

Early Thursday morning, Thomas allegedly broke into the Scheetzes' basement apartment and stabbed Lisa and her oldest daughter, Hailey, 16, to death and critically injured Scheetz's 15-year-old daughter. Authorities say that Thomas killed them in retaliation or to silence them for accusing him of sex crimes.

Thomas, whose nickname is "Pie" and who will be 38 Saturday, came to Lancaster from Jamaica, where he and his wife met, said Donna Thomas' grandmother, Beulah Absher, of Quarryville.

The two have three children and also were raising a child from Donna Thomas' first marriage, she said. For a time, Thomas had worked as a handyman.

Thomas suffered some health problems in 2013. On her Facebook account, his wife posted images from Thomas' MRIs, showing some kind of mass on his brain.

It was a pituitary brain tumor, Absher said. Apparently, it affected his vision. Donna Thomas posted on her Facebook page that her husband, who underwent surgery, was blind in his left eye and had limited vision in his right eye. In his photos, his left eye has a noticeable droop.

On his Facebook page, under employment, Thomas says he is disabled.

Before he was accused of molesting the two Scheetz girls, Thomas and his family spent time with the Scheetz family.

Both families attended the same church, Living Stone Fellowship, in Wakefield, Absher said.

In fact, it was the senior pastor at the church, Bud Stillman, who helped police figure out who had assaulted the family early Thursday, according to the criminal complaint filed against Leeton Thomas.

One of the Scheetz daughters, who had been stabbed, told a woman who helped her immediately after the stabbing that she was stabbed in her sleep by "Pie."

Stillman, who is identified as "a friend of the victim's family," told police that he knew "Pie," and his full name was Leeton Thomas, according to the criminal complaint.

A secretary at Living Stone said Friday that officials at the church declined to comment.

Also, children of both the Thomas and Scheetz families were students at Solanco School District.

Hailey Scheetz just finished her junior year at Solanco, where she was involved in the fall school play, "Sherlock Holmes," playing a role as a secretary named Joan to Professor Moriarty, played by Ian Birdwell, 17, of Quarryville.

Hailey Scheetz was shy at first but opened up as time went on, Birdwell said.

"We shared a few more laughs each day as we got to know each other a bit better," he said. "Then she became a lot more outgoing and comfortable with everything."

"She and her family were incredible people," he said.

Birdwell and his mother, Tammie, met Lisa Scheetz when the play was performed. Tammie Birdwell sat in front of Lisa Scheetz during the play and the two moms got to talking about their children.

"Her mother was so kind," Tammie Birdwell said.

After the play, the moms and their children chatted for a bit. Tammie Birdwell said Hailey Scheetz "gave me the biggest, sweetest hug."

"They were just the salt of the earth, sweet people," Tammie Birdwell said.

Solanco High School was open Friday for students who wished to speak with counselors about the tragedy involving the two families from the district.

The "safe room" at the high school was available for students and counselors to talk.