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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A relative says the mother and daughter who have been charged in the murders of five family members inside a Bucks County apartment were “into some type of cult.” Damon Decree Sr. said his estranged wife, 45-year-old Shana Decree, and his daughter, 19-year-old Dominique Decree, talked previously about “demons being all around them.”
Shana Decree and Dominique Decree have been charged with five counts of criminal homicide and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide. 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.
Decree Sr. told CNN affiliate WTVD-TV he learned from another family member that his daughter and estranged wife got involved with a cult. Decree says the family had been talking about demons being all around them and that might have triggered the murders.
“From my niece, apparently they had dissected into some type of cult that they materialized online. I don’t know how, I don’t know what kind of cult. And they were talking about demons being all around them. They obviously got some issues. And I know one of the suspects is my daughter and my wife. If they killed my son, if they did that, I don’t want them in no insane asylum. I want to see them in jail for the rest of their life,” he said.
Decree Sr. said that he reached out to police about getting the children out of the Morrisville apartment.
“This been going on for the past month. I mean we been calling children’s services, calling the police. My wife’s aunt called the housing authority. Had a cousin who called children’s services about three or four times. So this wasn’t, it’s new that it happened, but it’s not new that something crazy was going on,” explained Decree Sr.
He continued, “So it’s not like we just stood by and you know, ‘Oh my God,’ that’s why, it’s new, I didn’t think they would do this to themselves, and to their kids, but it’s not beyond a realm of possibility. But we’ve been calling, and checking, and doing everything we needed to do.”
A Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services case worker was doing an unannounced wellness check Monday afternoon inside the first-floor apartment at the Robert Morris Apartments on West Bridge Street, and discovered a bedroom full of dead and semi-conscious family members, in what police believe as a murder-suicide attempt.
Shana Decree and Dominique Decree were rushed to the hospital after being found in the apartment. One was found unconscious and the other was seizing.
According to an affidavit released on Tuesday, Shana Decree told police everyone in the apartment, including the 9-year-olds and 13-year-old, wanted to die. Decree allegedly said they had all been talking about suicide.
Authorities aren’t buying it.
“Usually, when somebody does a crime, a terrorism act, they usually say right off the bat that this is for in the name of — that has not been,” said Morrisville Police Chief George McClay.
The Morrisville School District superintendent says the three kids who were killed haven’t been in school for weeks. District officials were under the impression they were being homeschooled.
Authorities say it may take weeks to unravel how and why these five people were killed.