An Independence woman and her 13-year-old son were found dead at their Tangipahoa Parish home Sunday night, and officials said Monday they believe the killer knew the victims.
Family members identified the two killed as a mother and son who lived near the corner of Fontana Road and Labruzza Lane, about two miles west of Independence. Daytra Miller was 45; her son Robert West II was an honor student.
“We would ask for the community’s help to solve this crime, any tips, any information, if they would call the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, the local office, the Independence police department,” Miller’s aunt, Gloria McGee, said outside the home Monday. She said the killings were “absolutely not” domestic related, and right now they are focused on making sure those responsible are arrested.
Dawn Panepinto, a spokeswoman for the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office, called the double homicide a “heinous crime,” but declined to release any more information on the killings, except that detectives believe the person responsible knew the victims.
She said deputies responded late Sunday and that the investigation remained ongoing Monday afternoon.
“On behalf of the Miller and West family, we’re asking for your prayers and support … as we continue to go through this,” McGee said. “Please pray for us.”
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Family members gathered Monday, many sobbing, on the front porch of the wood-frame home with yellow siding. McGee said Miller, who lived with her children, had been in the area at least 15 years, and at that home for many years.
“Hard working, very respectful,” McGee said, describing her niece. “Full of life, very loving.”
She said Robert was an honors student.
“Just an angel, a joy to be around. So loving, respectful,” McGee said. “A life cut short.”
She said the extended family was supposed to gather in Hammond for Christmas dinner on Tuesday, including Miller, her son and other children.
“I don’t know how that’s going to go,” McGee said. “We’ll just take it day by day.”
Sheriff Daniel Edwards said anyone with information can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-554-5245.