The police scene on 2nd Avenue is gone. In its place are balloons and flowers to honor the victims.
“My sister and her children – all three of them – were supposed to be with me for Christmas, and I got robbed of that,” Shakera Symes said. “I got robbed of that opportunity.”
On Tuesday, December 26, 36-year-old Shanta Myers, her partner, 22-year-old Brandi Mells, and Myers’s two children, 11-year-old Jeremiah and 5-year-old Shanise, were found dead in their basement apartment.
Their deaths are being investigated as homicides.
Family members spoke for the first time on Thursday.
“When I heard, it broke me,” Khalif Coleman said.
Coleman is the nephew and cousin of the victims. He was visibly shaken.
“Something has to give in Troy because this is trouble; this is hard,” he said.
“It feels like we’ve been ripped to shreds, and we only have each other right now,” Symes added.
Symes planned to spend the holidays with her sister, niece and nephew. Instead, Saturday was the last time she spoke with them.
Their killer is still on the loose, and Symes is demanding answers.
“If you know something that could help us put the monster away who did this to my sister and her beautiful babies, you’ve got to say something,” she pleaded.
For now, she’ll look over Shanta’s older son, 15-year-old Isaiah Smith.
“I could tell you a million stories about my entire family, but this isn’t about them,” Symes said. “This is about the answers that we deserve and need.”
A grief session will be held from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday at Troy Middle School. Future sessions with grief counselors are scheduled next week.
Police are asking the public for help. Anyone with information is asked to contact them. Anonymous tips can also be left through Capital Region Crime Stoppers. The hotline is 1 (833)-ALB-TIPS or the app can be downloaded for free by searching P3TIPS.
Victory Christian Church of Albany is offering a $5,000 reward for information that may lead to an arrest and conviction in the case.