MORRISVILLE, PA (KYW/CNN) - After a mother and daughter were charged with killing five of their family members, authorities say it may take weeks to figure out how and why the alleged crimes were committed.
The estranged husband and father of the two suspects, Damon Decree Sr., claims his ex-wife, 45-year-old Shana Decree, and their daughter, 19-year-old Dominique Decree, were “into some type of cult.”
"I don’t know what kind of cult, and they were talking about demons being all around them,” Damon Decree said.
Shana and Dominique Decree are each charged with five counts of criminal homicide and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal homicide in the deaths of their relatives. Damon Decree believes the cult, which he described as an online religious cult, may have inspired the alleged murders.
The victims were identified as two of 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 twin 9-year-old daughters, Imani and Erika Allen.
"I know one of the suspects is my daughter and my wife. They killed my son. If they did that, I don’t want to see them in no insane asylum. I want to see them in jail for the rest of their lives,” Damon Decree said.
According to an affidavit released Tuesday, Shana Decree told police everyone had been talking about suicide, and they all wanted to die.
However, police say they don’t consider that to be the case and are still trying to figure out a motive for what they believe was a murder-suicide attempt.
When officers found the bodies Monday, Shana and Dominique Decree were initially rushed to the hospital because one was unconscious and the other was seizing inside the apartment.
Damon Decree said he had previously reached out to police and children’s services about getting the children out of the apartment. An unannounced check by a Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services case worker was what alerted police to the alleged crimes.
“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,” Damon Decree said.
The Morrisville, PA, community held a prayer service for the victims Wednesday night. They lit five candles and held moments of silence for each of them. In addition, a makeshift memorial is growing outside the family’s apartment.
"It's a time to come together, a time to come together and help the immediate family get through this,” resident Angela Lomax said.
The Morrisville School District superintendent says the three children who were killed hadn’t been in school for weeks. District officials were under the impression they were being homeschooled.
Both suspects were denied bail.