PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The investigation is continuing after a mother and daughter have been charged in the murders of five family members, including three children. Forty-five-year-old Shana Decree and her daughter, 19-year-old Dominique Decree, are being held without bail after being charged Tuesday. It’s a crime that has friends, relatives and neighbors beside themselves.
“I didn’t have nothing bad to say about neither one of them, it’s shocking,” said Nicole Owens.
Owens, whose daughter is cousins with the victims, used to drop off food to the family at the center of what police believe was an attempted murder-suicide.
Police say, on Saturday, a social worker stopped by for a wellness check and after receiving no response, left a business card in the door.
That card was still in the door when she returned Monday and again got no response. She asked a maintenance man to let her in and they made the grisly discovery.
The victims include Shana Decree’s children — 25-year-old Naa’Irah Smith, and 13-year-old Damon Decree Jr. — as well as her sister, 42-year-old Jamilla Campbell, and Campbell’s 9-year-old twin daughters, Imani and Erika Allen.
Destiny Harris, the twins’ half-sister, said the news knocked the wind out of her.
“My heart, I couldn’t breathe to be honest,” said Harris. “I just miss my sisters, that’s it.”
On Tuesday, investigators removed more than a dozen evidence bags and towed away two cars. Authorities say it may take weeks to piece together exactly what happened, but some people will never understand why, especially why anyone would kill children.
“Well, I could not imagine losing any of my own children or any relative of that age, that they never got a chance to meet in life. To be a teenager,” said Owens. “But they were so respectful little girls. They were always smiling and speaking and just jolly twins. They always stuck together. They were a close knit family. Really close, really close.”
Joseph Chatman, Campbell’s ex-boyfriend, said he’s still “trying to process this.”
“I would never expect nothing like this, especially out of Jamilla. I just pray for the family and all that. I hope everybody can heal,” said Chatman.
Police say it was their understanding the suspects and victims all lived together in the apartment with another teen boy who has since been found unharmed.