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ST. CROIX — The cause of death of Lyana Serieux and her two young sons were determined to be homicide by the Virgin Islands Medical Examiner on Tuesday, V.I.P.D. Public Information Officer Glen Dratte confirmed to The Consortium Thursday. That means Ms. Serieux, 24, along with her boys Jordan Serieux and Jeremiah Serieux, ages 10 and 5 respectively, were killed by someone.
Police, however, refused to release details on how the family was killed, with Mr. Dratte stating that the force is focused on its investigation and is attempting to make use of all the information it has collected.
What is now one the most vicious crimes committed in modern Virgin Islands history, started on Friday, July 29, the last day Ms. Serieux along with her two sons were seen. Ms. Serieux’s family members had conducted their own search, but turned to police on Sunday, July 30 after futile attempts. By the night of Monday, July 31 at about 7:30 p.m., police discovered a 2011 Silver Toyota Yaris with license plate number CFR 304 — confirmed to be that of Ms. Serieux — burnt in Upper Love.
The following day (Tuesday, August 1) at about 11:35 a.m., moments after a V.I.P.D. press briefing seeking the community’s assistance, the bodies of Ms. Serieux’s two minor sons were discovered on the south shore near Ha’Penny Beach. The tragic nature of the discovery rocked the territory, with many expressing disbelief that such cruelty had occurred here.
The search continued for Ms. Serieux on Wednesday, August 2. During the evening of the same Wednesday, some residents gathered at Fort Christianvaern for prayer, and were joined by tens of thousands more from around the world. “I stand with you in prayer from Jerusalem,” said Hannah Jasmine McCoy. “Prayers from the Santos family from East Tennessee,” said Mario N. Wendy Santos. “Praying and standing in agreement in Indianapolis,” said Claire James.
On Thursday, August 3, Ms. Serieux’s body was discovered in a cistern of an abandoned building behind the Mutual Homes Housing Community.
V.I.P.D. Commissioner Delroy Richards vowed to bring those responsible to justice. “We are going to pursue the individual or individuals responsible, and we want them to know that. We are going to leave no stone unturned, and we’re going to be aggressively involved in trying to bring this to a closure,” he said.
The commissioner said that the force has been following every lead it gets — down to comments online — to try and piece together what really happened. “So far we have been unable to confirm a lot of them,” he said. He did, however, confirm that items of “evidentiary value” were discovered in the abandoned building.
The killing of Ms. Serieux and her two minor sons brought the territory’s homicide count to 37 for 2017. By August 29 last year, the territory had already seen 47 homicides in total, 40 of which were gun-related and another 7 were vehicular.
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