A St. Louis family of three, including a 10-year-old girl, were found shot and stabbed to death inside their apartment last weekend.
Police discovered the bodies of Nyla Banks, 10, her mother Antoinette Banks, 45, and father, Gene Watson III, 46, on Saturday night after being called to the Edge Lofts apartment complex near downtown St. Louis.
So far, Missouri authorities haven’t named a suspect, but believe the alleged killer entered the apartment hours earlier with the family, according to surveillance footage.
“They located the victims deceased inside a residence, suffering from numerous puncture wounds,” a police incident report obtained by Oxygen.com stated.
Evita Caldwell, a public information officer for the St. Louis Police Department declined to comment further.
“The investigation is ongoing,” she told Oxygen.com by email. “As such, we do not have anything further to provide at this time.”
The Edge Lofts, the leasing company where the family were found killed, said they were re-examining its building security features, but noted the killing didn’t appear to be a forced entry.
“Basically, this person came in with the victim as a guest,” John Dean, the building’s manager, told Oxygen.com. “[They] took him up to the apartment. They were up there for three hours.”
Then, around 4:30 a.m., Dean said, neighbors reported they heard a barrage of strange noises emanating from the apartment.
“There was some commotion heard, screaming and loud noises — and a bang,” he added. “It woke up several of the neighbors. Whoever was up there, they were up there for quite a few hours prior to the noise.”
Dean said the unknown guest was a man. He was reviewing surveillance footage with members of the family on Tuesday.
Antoinette Banks’ first cousin, Cheryl Coleman, told Oxygen.com that she was “very close” with the family. The 36-year-old said she’s still in shock.
“Our family has been deeply impacted by the horrific events we’re still trying to process the information,” said Coleman.
“It just does not feel like reality,” she added. “We have so many questions as to why this happened, who could be this heartless that could take the life of an innocent child and a family? We’ve just been leaning on each other for support. Our emotions are up and down. Everyone has been deeply impacted.”
She’s hopeful authorities will arrest a suspect soon.
“Homicide detectives are working diligently to apprehend the perpetrators,” she said. “The family does hope and believe that the detectives will identify who’s responsible for this horrendous crime.”
Coleman added that her cousin left behind another adult son, who’s “devastated."
“Her son said he feels lost every day,” Coleman said.
She has since set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the family.
KMOV also reported that Nyla was the 16th child murdered this summer in St. Louis.
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