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Mother of victims escaped with her daughter.
By Raif Karerat
WASHINGTON, DC: The small, coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina isn’t accustomed to much in the way of dramatic crime. But residents awoke Wednesday morning to find their quiet corner of the Carolinas had become the site of a ghastly triple-homicde the night before.
Police say 18-year-old Eh Lar Doh Htoo carried a machete into his next-door neighbors’ home late Tuesday night and proceeded to murder three boys, aged one, five, and 12, then slashed the mother before she escaped with her 14-year-old daughter.
Htoo was still holding the weapon when officers arrived, said New Bern Police Chief Toussaint Summers Jr. The father of the victimized family was at work at the time.
Police arrived on the scene of the attack at about 11 p.m. after the mother, bleeding from a stab wound in the back, jumped out a window and pleaded with neighbors to get help.
They found two of the boys already dead; the third was taken to a hospital but ultimately perished as well.
Police are having difficulties establishing the motive since both Htoo and all of his victims are emigrants from Myanmar who don’t speak English. To further complicate matters, Htoo doesn’t even speak the same dialect as the victimized family.
“You can’t always tell when a person understands or speaks English,” Summers told the Associated Press. “So we’ll have to do some more investigation and see from his acquaintances if he can speak English.”
“The victims are Karenni. The accused man is Karen. They speak different languages,” the AP learned from Cookie Davenport, who began working with refugees from Myanmar nine years ago through the Temple Baptist Church to help families get settled in the United States. She has been duly impressed by their work ethic.
“They don’t mind working in the middle of the night because they need to support their family,” she said. “They are not a proud people where any job is beneath them.”
Community leaders aren’t convinced immigrants are necessarily introducing racial complications to their sleepy little town on an overarching scale.
“If you’re asking about ethnic tension, I’d say no, it hasn’t been a factor in this community,” stated Susan Husson, executive director of the local Interfaith Refugee Ministry.
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