Residents of Troy, New York, are on edge after four bodies were found the day after Christmas.
Shanta Myers, 36; her partner Brandi Mells, 22; and her two children; Shanise, 5, and Jeremiah, 11; were found tied up in in their basement apartment with their throats coat.
“After being in this business for 43 years, I can’t describe the savagery of a person who would do this,” said Troy Police Chief John Tedesco. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that a person who committed this crime is capable of anything.”
Tedesco added that the murders were “not a random act,” but did not elaborate on whether he thought they were related to the women’s sexuality. In 2015, the body of 21-year-old lesbian Noel Alkaramla was found in a suitcase in the Hudson River near Troy. (Alkaramla’s stepfather was charged with her murder.)
Rev. Jackie Robinson, a neighbor, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch the family’s deaths were “a heinous atrocity” that had impacted the whole community.
“Kids are traumatized. A lot of adults are traumatized too, because this monster is still out there.”
The four bodies were found shortly after noon by a property manager asked to check on the family. The apartment was located in Lansingburgh on the northern end of the city.
Authorities hope autopsies will provide more information, including exactly when the killings took place. Said Chief Tedesco, “This will be a full-court press, if you will, until we bring someone to justice.”
Note: This story has been updated to include the names of the victims.