Cousins found shot to death in NE Phila.

February 15, 2011 6:07:56 AM PST
Though police do not officially know what led to the deaths of two women in Northeast Philadelphia, relatives worry that a Valentine's Day breakup may have been at the root of the tragedy.

The two women have been identified as 20-year-old Tiffany Barnhill and her cousin 21-year-old Mercedes Ivery, cousins.

Family members tell Action News that Tiffany had gone to her cousin's home to commiserate over her breakup with her boyfriend earlier in the day.

However, at 3:45 p.m. police rushed to 5430 Rutland Street after a report of gunshots.

"On arrival, officers made entry into the residence; we have two females that are deceased with multiple gunshot wounds on the second floor. Both females are in their 20s," Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Bachmayer said.

Police say it appears someone had kicked in the door to make entry into the row home.

So far no witnesses have come forward.

The victims' families are devastated.

"All I could say is, it was a senseless tragic act, it should have never happened to anyone," relative Tamika Scott said.

Relatives say the victims were inseparable.

"They were lovely girls, I'm going to miss my niece, I just can't understand who would do something like this to them," relative Cheryl Nesmith said.

While police have no suspects or motive, some relatives say the only sign of trouble was earlier in the day when Tiffany had an argument with her boyfriend telling him she wanted to end the relationship and wanted to move on with her life.

"She was smart, beautiful, talented, she had dreams, always smiling, always happy, a typical 20-year-old," Nesmith said.

Meanwhile, relatives say Marcedes Ivery was working at a nursing home and was furthering her education to become a nurse.

"That was my baby, I could always get her to come and do something for me, I didn't like to drive no more, and she drove me everywhere," grandmother Barbara Ivery said.

Relatives believe someone out there knows what happen.

"Someone had to see something, I mean, for someone to come and literally kick my sister's door in and kill my niece like that. No. Somebody had to see something," Nesmith said.

No arrests have been made as of Monday night.

Police caution that the Valentine's breakup may be the obvious in the investigation, but they say they are looking into a number of possible suspects.

Investigators say it may seem logical to focus on the Valentine's Day breakup as the motive for these murders. But homicide detectives tell Action News this morning they are considering a number of possible motives.

Meantime, those who knew and loved the young women can't imagine who would want them dead.

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