The upstate New York community in which a mother, her two young children and her girlfriend were brutally murdered has come together to ensure the victims’ loved ones are supported.
Days after a GoFundMe account was created to help defray the cost of laying the victims of the Dec. 21 slayings to rest, the page’s organizer announced someone had stepped forward to cover all funeral and burial costs.
Shanta Myers, 36, her partner, Brandi Mells, 22, and Myers’ two youngest children, Jeremiah, 11, and Shanise, 5, were found dead in their basement apartment the day after Christmas by a property manager who had been asked to check on the family.
Myers’ oldest child, 16-year-old Isaiah Smith, has been living with his aunt and was not with his mother at the time of the killings, the Troy Record reported.
Since his loved ones’ funerals have been paid for, the money collected through GoFundMe will be used to support Smith, according to the page’s organizer, Hollyanne Buntich.
Buntich works as the director of human resources at the Troy Boys and Girls Club, where Smith’s little brother, Jeremiah — or “JJ” — was a member.
“He was a quintessential "Club Kid" who impacted the lives of so many staff, children and teens, parents and volunteers,” she wrote. “We are shocked and deeply saddened by this tragedy. It will be deeply felt by all his friends at the Club and throughout the community.”
Now Buntich and others in the neighborhood are working to support JJ’s big brother, who is a tenth grader at Troy High School.
“All the funds received will go toward grief counseling and setting up a scholarship fund and paying for living costs for Isaiah,” Buntich wrote.
As of Wednesday, more than $48,000 had been raised by at least 1,150 people who donated to the cause.
“Each and every one of you give us a little bit of hope,” Buntich wrote to donors.
It appeared a second GoFundMe page was created to pay for the funeral of Brandi Mells.
Police arrested two men they said are responsible for the killings.
Justin Mann, 24, and James White, 38, were each charged with one count of first-degree murder and four counts of second-degree murder. They have both pleaded not guilty and are expected in court Thursday.
A motive for the quadruple homicide has not been revealed.
Services for the Myers family will be held Saturday from 12 p.m.- 4 p.m. at Troy Middle School at 1976 Burdett Ave. in Troy. Repass will immediately follow at the Troy Boys and Girls Club at 1700 7th Ave., according to a relative, who announced the arrangements on Facebook.
Service details for Mells were not immediately clear.
Jerry Ford, a leader of the Troy Boys and Girls Club’s Team Hero program, told the Troy Record that the family of the victims [is] grateful for the outpouring of support.
“The amount of love and support that came from everybody was just great,” Ford said. “I don’t know how we all who have been directly affected by this would have made it through without everybody coming together.”