Police arrested a man who lives in the basement of the house where three bodies were discovered on Friday in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Fox News reports police went to the home looking for relatives of an 8-year-old boy whose family failed to pick him up from school on Friday.
Saturday morning, Salt Lake City Police detective Richard Chipping identified Heike Poike, 50, Dakota Smith, 28, and 2-month-old Lyrik Poike as the murder victims. Heike Poike was the grandmother of the baby, but police are unsure of Smith’s relationship with them.
Salt Lake police detective Richard Chipping said, “We’re looking into his connection into either the family or the suspect at this point.”
Police arrested 32-year-old Alexander Hung Tran in connection to the triple murder. Tran lives in the basement of the house where the bodies were discovered, according to detective Chipping. Tran had been renting the upstairs portion of the home to the victims.
At the time of Tran’s arrest for aggravated murder, he had a gun in his possession, though he was taken into custody without incident, according to coverage of this tragic story by KSL.
Detective Chipping added that investigators questioned Tran and “determined that he shot and killed all three individuals.”
Kristen Morales, a close friend of Poike, describes her nightmarish disbelief.
“I can’t even explain how sad it is. The baby was only 2 months old. It’s a movie that plays in my head and I can’t get it out.”
Saturday evening, neighbors held a vigil for three murder victims.
Consuelo Garcia said the baby’s mother, Poike’s daughter, Ashley Poike, was unable to attend the vigil because she was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail last month.
Garcia said she grew up with Ashley Poike and her daughter, and considered both of them part of her family.
“Lyrik was pretty much my niece. Ashley needs to know that she has family and friends out here to support her, and even though she’s not here right now, we all are.”
Garcia added Heike Poike was like a mother to her.
“She was kind and thoughtful. If you needed someone to talk to, she was there. Ashley needed her and she was more than happy to jump up and take care of the baby for her.”
Garcia and others hope justice will be served.
“Nobody deserves to die like this.”
According to police, the bodies were discovered Friday after officers looking for the family of a boy who hadn’t been picked up from school located the crime scene. The 8-year-old boy had not been picked up from Escalante Elementary School at the expected time, causing school officials to notify police after being unable to reach family members. Detective Chipping said the boy is the sibling of the 2-month-old victim and the grandson of Poike.
Officers escorted the boy to three separate locations where the boy said he had relatives living. Eventually, police arrived at the home around 5 p.m. Friday. Police officers knocked on the front door, but there was no answer. When officers looked through windows, they identified a body underneath a tarp.
Chipping said an officer found the back door slightly open and entered the home where they discovered the three bodies, as well as Tran in possession of a gun.
“They went into the house and were calling out to anyone inside and they found a male with a gun, so they took him into custody and then searched the house and found three bodies inside.”
Neighbor Robert Fullmer said Tran’s parents bought the home less than a year ago.
“They kept saying they bought it for him to give it to him.”
Fullmer also said Tran’s parents told him they were afraid of their son.
“He’d be beating on the doors, beating on the walls, things of that nature. We kind of expected something, but we didn’t expect it to be this horrific.”
The 8-year-old boy was placed in the custody of an adult family in the neighborhood as of Friday evening. Police were unsure Saturday whether the family was related to the boy or the victims.
Tran was arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of three counts of aggravated murder.
[Featured image via Salt Lake County Jail]