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North Carolina mother and three children die in murder-suicide while on FaceTime call

The minors were identified as Sakendra Syann Steele, 9, and Sakenya Syretha Steele, 12, and Sakenlo Shawn Steele Jr, 14

Andrea Blanco
Wednesday 12 April 2023 18:46 BST
Related: Capital murder defendants out on bond now accused of committing murder

A North Carolina mother killed her three children before dying by suicide while on a FaceTime call, according to police.

Forty-year-old Ethel Syretha Steele fatally shot her daughters Sakendra Syann Steele, 9, and Sakenya Syretha Steele, 12, and son Sakenlo Shawn Steele Jr, 14, before turning the gun on herself, the Winston-Salem Journal reported.

Law enforcement responded to the residence on Brookhill Drive around noon on Tuesday ( 11 March) after receiving reports of a shooting.

Officers had to force entry in order to make the grisly discovery.

At the time of the tragedy, Steele was reportedly on a FaceTime call, with the person at the other end witnessing the disturbing scene.

Police believe Steele killed Sakendra first before shooting Sakenya twice in the chest. Then, she killed her son, according to the Journal.

“This happened in my neighbourhood. You don’t want to see this,” neighbour Angela Terrill told Fox 8. “You see this on the news, and…it is another neighbourhood. For it to happen here in our neighbourhood, is very concerning. It’s close to home.”

An investigation is underway but authorities do not believe anyone else was involved in the shooting.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

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