Aug. 6: Prince George's County, Md. police academy recruits wear protective gear to search for evidence on the property where four bodies were found in a garage in Riverdale, Md.
RIVERDALE, Md. -- Two people have been charged with murder in the murders of two children, their mother and their aunt, who were found in a trash-filled apartment above a detached garage at a suburban Maryland home, police said Saturday.
Prince George's County police also identified the victims in a press release early Saturday morning as Shayla Shante Sikyala, 3; Shakur Sylvester Sikyala, 4; their mother, Dawn Yvette Brooks, 38; and their aunt, Mwasiti Sikyala, 41. All were from Lanham. Police say all four victims were shot to death.
Meanwhile, police have charged Darrell Lynn Bellard, 43, and Tkeisha Nicole Gilmer, 18, with murder and placed them in the custody of county corrections officials. Both are from Texas.
Bellard and Gilmer apparently were connected to Brooks and Mwasiti Sikyala through the sale of marijuana, though police may learn more as the investigation continues, Officer Evan Baxter said. Charges are pending against them. A court appearance has not been set for Bellard and Gilmer, and neither had an attorney, Baxter said.
Police had said previously that some of the victims were natives of the Congo but Baxter was not able to confirm that information Saturday morning.
The victims had been living in the space above the garage, which had no running water or toilet facilities, according to police. Officers say the amount of trash in the living space is making it difficult for detectives to sift through evidence.
"I'm very disgusted about this," Hylton said. Prince George's County officials marked the property with a bright orange sign after declaring the garage and the home uninhabitable Friday afternoon.
Prince George's County health department officials spent Friday afternoon inspecting the garage living area and the home to make sure it was safe for officers and police recruits to investigate the scene. Police officers and recruits combing through the property for evidence wore protective masks, boots, gloves and special suits.
Dr. Donald Shell, a county health officer, called the living conditions deplorable and unsanitary and compared it to a "junkyard."
"It's not somewhere where we'd want to lay our heads to sleep," Shell said, saying health officials found mold inside the garage living area and signs of rodents burrowing and nesting near the garage.
The county health department had not received any specific complaints about the house, Shell said.
The county's environmental services department had cited the home, however, in February 2009 for keeping a dismantled, inoperable car on their property, a fence in disrepair, and open storage of debris and trash. The home cleared a follow-up inspection several weeks later.