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Widow says husband tried for years to help man accused of murdering him and their 2-year-old son

Mabel Essien says her husband, Michael Essien, met the suspect in high school and gave him a second chance when he was homeless.

HOUSTON — It’s hard to imagine the pain of losing your husband and 2-year-old son, but that is Mabel Essien's reality. 

Her husband Michael Essien, 38, was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon in southwest Houston. Hours later her son, Micah, was found dead inside the family's stolen SUV nearby.

“He was very selfless, he put everybody above himself," said Mabel, speaking about the loss of her husband and son. “Didn’t give me the chance to see him go to college, didn’t give me the chance to wake up every day and potty train him”

Surveillance video captured the meeting between Michael and the man accused of killing him, 38-year-old Bolanie Fadairo, in the parking lot of a southwest Houston shopping center on El Camino Del Ray Tuesday afternoon. Houston police say Fadairo shot and killed Michael.

RELATED: Surveillance video shows shooting of dad killed with toddler in backseat; bond set for suspect

Fadairo had told investigators Michael owed him money, but Mabel said it was her husband who was always helping him.

“When my husband met [Fadairo], we went to get our clothes from the cleaners, either get clothes or turn in clothes, and he saw someone sitting on the pavement like a bum on the road," she said.

She said that was Fadairo. She said her husband recognized him from high school and gave him a second chance. Her husband was a security guard and got Fadairo a security job and often gave him cash, even letting him use his mailing address.

“He took him under his wings," she told KHOU 11 but said Fadairo's behavior eventually made her worry. "I told him, this guy is going to make you lose your contract."

On Tuesday afternoon, police said after Fadairo killed Michael, he stole his SUV with his 2-year-old child in the backseat and dumped the SUV nearby on Elm Street.

Home surveillance cameras show neighbors going about their day, not knowing a child was dying inside a hot car.

“That guy denied my kids the opportunity to know the great father that everybody had to know," Mabel said.

RELATED: 'I want my nephew back' | Family struggles to understand deaths of 'happy' toddler and his dad

Fadairo appeared in court and is charged with two counts of murder, along with tampering with evidence. Because of his criminal history, which goes back two decades, prosecutors asked for a high bond which was granted at $1.5 million.

Mabel said still can’t believe her husband and son are gone, but it was their spirit she will always carry with her.

“I want the world to see other people in Michael’s eyes – that’s the only way my husband’s legacy can move forward," she said.

More than anything, this mom is asking for prayers. She’s raising two other kids, the youngest just a few weeks old. To read more about how you can support the family, click here.

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