A couple from the state of New York and two children were slaughtered the day after Christmas, horrifying the city of Troy.
According to NBC News, investigators in the upstate New York town vowed to catch the person who killed a mother, two of her children and her girlfriend, in a crime that the police chief is describing as “savagery.”
The victims were identified as 36-year-old Shanta Myers; her 11-year-old son, Jeremiah; her 5-year-old daughter, Shanise; and Myers’ partner, 22-year-old Brandi Mells. Myers also has a 15-year-old son, but the teen was out of town on a retreat at the time of the brutal killings.
Troy Police Capt. Daniel DeWolf declined to discuss the crime scene or the cause of death, but sources told another news site, the Albany Times Union, that the victims were found bound, with their throats slit, NBC News notes.
“After being in this business for almost 42 years, I cannot describe the savagery of this,” Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said.
Police have also declined to discuss a possible motive but did hint that the family may have been targeted.
“We don’t think there’s some madman out there running loose that’s going to kill someone else,” DeWolf said.
Now family is left to pick up the pieces, trying to figure out what could possibly have prompted such violence.
“She is so sweet,” Myers’ sister, Shakera Symes, told NBC News. “She goes out of her way to want to be loved. She wouldn’t be involved in anything that would be close to deserving this. She’s very mild-mannered.”
Mells was also described as a loving person.
“She was a little person, but her heart was bigger than she was,” a close friend, Dria Hector, said of Mells, who had dwarfism. “She was very real, she spoke the truth. She was a sweet person, but she could have her bad days, like we all do.”
Jeremiah, known as J.J., was an active member in the Boys and Girls Club in Troy, participating in the after-school program and playing basketball.
“He was such a radiant kid that everybody knew him,” Hollyanne Buntich, the club’s human resources director, said. “He was a ray of sunshine.”
Symes, Myers’ sister, described how she had expected to hear from J.J. on Friday because he usually called her to chat when he didn’t have school. That call never came.
When the family never showed up to her house for Christmas as expected, it only took another day before the horrifying news was uncovered.
“I can’t understand why somebody wanted to do something like that,” Symes said. “It is a complete mystery at this point, but I am urging anyone and everyone who has the slightest bit of information at this point to come forward.”
As for Myers’ 15-year-old son, Isaiah, the rest of the family is trying to support him through the loss of his mother and siblings.
“He keeps to himself,” she said. “He is very strong.”
DeWolf acknowledged that Isaiah’s safety is “a concern” but declined to offer further details.
Police said that they have gotten several leads and are also going through heaps of video footage collected from cameras on houses and businesses near the crime scene.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of it,” DeWolf promised.
Read more at NBC News.