Police in Troy, NY have identified the four victims, 2 women and 2 children, found dead in the basement of an apartment house on Tuesday.
The victims were identified as (from top left) 22-year-old Brandi Mells and her lesbian partner, 36-year-old Shanta Myers, mother of 5-year-old Shanise Myers and 11-year-old Jeremiah Myers.
Police sources tell the NY Post the victims' throats were slashed and their hands were bound behind their backs.
“After being in this business for almost 42 years, I can’t describe the savagery of a person like this. I don’t know of a word that could say," Troy Police Chief John Tedesco told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.
Tedesco said Myers and Mells "were in a relationship" and they lived in Mells' rented basement apartment in a house at 158 2nd Ave. Mells took the family in when they were evicted from a home in New Jersey.
The property manager found the bodies after he was asked to conduct a welfare check around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday.
Tedesco did not say who asked the property manager to check on the family.
Myers had an older son, Isaiah, 15, who lived with a relative. He was away at a basketball tournament in Massachusetts when the crime occurred on Christmas Day, Shanta Myers' nephew Khalif Coleman told The Daily Gazette Thursday.
There wasn't enough room in Mells' tiny apartment for Isaiah so a family member took him in.
"I just want to face the people that did this to my family," Coleman said. "I just want to face them face to face and ask them why? Just why?"
The apartment where the victims lived was one of 5 apartments in the house.
Tedesco said the murders were not random and the victims were targeted. He said there is no suspect in the murders, but area residents are not in imminent danger.
“Until they catch whoever did this, there are certainly reasons to be fearful,” said Pastor Jackie Robinson Sr. of Oak Grove Baptist Church. “We don’t know who did it. Until we find out, it certainly makes sense to be vigilant and keep your doors locked."
The Troy Boys and Girls Club, where Jeremiah was a member, offered counseling services to members.
Albany’s Victory Christian Church has announced it would offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
The Capital Region Crime Stoppers offered an additional $1,500 reward.