"I'm 99 percent sure it's my daughter, but I just need that 1 percent confirmation" to be able to start planning a funeral, Houston's mother, Montika Lowe, said Friday.
Both teens were popular at their schools and in their neighborhoods, according to friends and family, and there has been an outpouring of contributions to help pay for their funerals.
A tall, thin kid with a mini-Mohawk, Holmes played basketball at Camden High School and had finished his freshman year at the top of his class. His family could not be reached Friday.
Houston, the second oldest of six, was a motherly figure to her younger siblings. She ran track and played basketball at Woodrow Wilson High School, and was aspiring to go to college and become a lawyer.
"She already had books on law," her mother said.
A former employee of the Parks and Recreation Department, Lowe was laid off last year and has been unemployed since. Being home, she said, she made sure her daughter went to school every day and came back at a decent hour.
"I wanted her to get an education," said Lowe, who described herself and Houston's father, David Houston, as strict parents.
Qua'Nyrah Houston had recently insisted on spending more time with Holmes. Lowe said she allowed Holmes to visit but under her supervision.
The night before the fire, Lowe said, she went to bed about 11 p.m. and her daughter was still up. It wasn't until late morning when she went to wake her and tell her of hearing about the fire at Holmes' house that she discovered her daughter wasn't there.
"I kept her so sheltered," Lowe said. "My kids have their own cable, own computers, own cell phones, all so they won't go out there."
But teens will be teens, she said.
"Who would've thought that would happen?" she asked.
Family, friends and strangers have been organizing fund-raisers for Holmes' and Jackson's family.
Reuel Robinson of Family Life Outreach Ministries in Pennsauken saw a poster this week asking for donations for the families.
"I reached out to the family and asked if I could help," Robinson said. He immediately planned a fund-raiser at Skate World for Friday evening.
A Fourth of July barbecue on the waterfront also was held to raise funds for the funerals, likely to be held next weekend after the bodies are released.
People also donated money to help bail out Holmes' father, Kenneth Sr., 33, who had been arrested and placed in jail the night before the fire.
A 22-year-old woman recently pressed charges after Holmes Sr. allegedly pointed a gun at her head. Charges against Holmes included unlawful possession of a firearm and making terroristic threats.
When police served his arrest warrant June 28, officers said, they found drugs in the house and charged him with drug possession and related offenses.
Donations helped Holmes' family post 10 percent of $40,000 bail, a reduction from the initial $200,000 bail.
The house where the fire was was so severely damaged that it had to be demolished, Public Works Director Pat Keating said. The three surrounding homes were boarded up and unoccupied at the time of the fire and also came down Friday.
Police have not yet said whether the fire was an arson or accidental. Samples were taken from the scene and investigators are continuing to interview people, Laughlin said.
A determination on the cause of the fire could take weeks, he said.
Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917, or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @InqCVargas. Read her blog, "Camden Flow," at www.philly.com/camden_flow/