A quadruple homicide in Upstate New York has left a family broken and desperate for answers.
Shakera Symes still doesn’t know who brutally killed her 36-year-old sister, Shanta Myers, and two of Myers’s three children: Shanise Meyers, 5, and Jeremiah “JJ” Myers, 11. Their bodies, along with that of Myers’s partner, 22-year-old Brandi Mells, were discovered inside a basement apartment in Troy, N.Y., the day after Christmas, when the victims’ family members told the apartment building’s property manager that they weren’t answering phone calls.
“Give the information to the authorities so that they can help find the person who has destroyed us, emotionally, mentally,” Symes told reporters Thursday evening at the Troy Boys & Girls Club, where Jeremiah had been a member for six years, according to the Times Union.
“It feels like somebody has ripped us to shreds,” Symes said.
Myers’s 15-year-old son, Isaiah Smith, was away when he heard what happened to his mother, brother and sister — and says he fears for his own life, knowing their killer is still at large.
“I’m scared to go to the corner store,” he told reporters, according to the Albany Times Union. “I’m not sure if they’re coming for me next.”
The deaths, which are being investigated as homicides, are shrouded in mystery: Police are unsure how long ago the victims were killed and do not have any suspects, Troy Police Chief John Tedesco said at a news conference Wednesday.
“After being in this business for almost 42 years, I can’t describe the savagery of this,” Tedesco told reporters.
“Nobody that’s been involved in this case is going to ever forget this, I can tell you that,” he added.
Tedesco said it is likely that the family was targeted.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that someone who committed a crime of this magnitude is capable of anything,” he said. “But we do not believe this was a random act, and we don’t believe there’s any imminent danger to the community.”
He declined to provide information on how or why the victims were killed. Police said autopsies would be conducted Wednesday, but as of Thursday the results had not been released.
The apartment building’s property manager discovered the bodies Tuesday afternoon. Police responded to the building on Second Avenue in Troy, a city eight miles northeast of Albany, about 12:50 p.m.
But Jackie Robinson Sr., a pastor at Oak Grove Baptist Church in Troy, told the Times Union that there are “certainly reasons to be fearful.”
“We don’t know who did it,” Robinson said. “Until we find out, it certainly makes sense to be vigilant and keep your doors locked.”
Family members told reporters at the Boys & Girls Club on Thursday that Myers was mild-mannered and always willing to help someone, usually by offering to cook a tasty meal. Her 5-year-old daughter loved cooking, too, so the family agreed to let her cook spaghetti as part of their Christmas meal.
“That girl was like a grown woman in a little body,” her cousin, Khalif Coleman, told reporters, according to the Times Union.
Jeremiah, the family said, dreamed of playing for the Boston Celtics.
“He was a quintessential ‘Club Kid’ who impacted the lives of so many staff, children and teens, parents and volunteers,” the Boys & Girls Club said in a statement posted on a GoFundMe page that is raising money to cover the funeral and memorial costs. “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy. It will be deeply felt by all his friends at the Club and throughout the community.”
The Troy City School District, where the two children attended classes, will be offering grief counseling to students, Superintendent John Carmello wrote in a letter to parents.
“Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and deepest condolences are with their family and loved ones during this terribly troubling time,” Carmello wrote.