Wails of grief permeated a usually quiet north Minneapolis neighborhood Monday when a woman and a teenage grandson she was raising were found stabbed to death inside their home.
A relative identified the woman as Beatrice Wilson, 57, a Liberian immigrant who worked at the Minneapolis Veterans Home and who was a de facto mother to many, including the three grandchildren she was raising.
Police have not yet announced an arrest or whether they're seeking a specific suspect, but said they don't believe the public is in danger.
The pain among Wilson's survivors was clear Monday morning as young men and women tore past the police tape that cordoned off the block surrounding the house at 1214 12th Av. N., in a neighborhood full of modern houses just northwest of downtown.
Police had to restrain those who screamed and collapsed on the grass in front of the two-story duplex across the street from Bethune Community School.
"She was a very hardworking woman, a mother to everybody. I don't know why somebody would do such a thing to her," said Philip Segbee, who is married to Wilson's niece.
Minneapolis police Inspector Mike Martin said police were called about 4:30 a.m. after someone inside the residence asked neighbors to call 911. Police found the victims dead. They wouldn't discuss whether others were inside the house when police arrived.
Investigators "have got some suspect information and are pursuing that," Sgt. Steve McCarty said Monday afternoon.
Ayan Isse, who lives next door in the large duplex, said Wilson had lived there for about six years. She was a good, friendly neighbor, she said, who was raising at least three relatives, ages 15, 17 and 19, although several relatives frequented the house. Isse said her family was awakened by the 15-year-old pounding on the door.
"He was crying and was like, 'Help me, help me, my aunt's been stabbed!'" she said.
Isse said she was unsure who the suspect was, but that they didn't think the crime was random. In the meantime, they're grieving.
"We haven't known each other that well, but enough to care about her. She was our neighbor," she said.
Segbee stood in the school's parking lot across the street and watched as police continued to examine the scene early Monday afternoon. By his side, Wilson's distraught nephew sobbed to a relative over his cellphone, as Segbee explained that Wilson had raised him.
Segbee said Wilson was from Liberia and had spent time in Ivory Coast before she emigrated to the United States about a dozen years ago. She had raised many other children in addition to her own. She had three grandchildren living with her at the time of her death, Segbee said, but he didn't know which one was the victim.
He said the family was uncertain who could have killed Wilson. He said she had an ex-boyfriend, but he lived far away and "wouldn't be the one to do such a thing."
A carful of Wilson's subdued co-workers from the Minneapolis Veterans Home drove slowly past the house early Monday afternoon, where hours later, authorities continued to process evidence. Wilson had worked at the Veterans Home as a health services technician since 2006, providing non-medical care.
"She was very well-loved by the residents," said Anna Long, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. "They're having a hard time with this."
Segbee said he last saw Wilson on Saturday during a birthday celebration. As usual, everyone was happy to be together, he said.
"I'm just standing here, but my spirit is not here. I can't believe that she's dead," he said. "I'm just here because I'm here, but it's hard. It's unbelievable."
Star Tribune staff writer Paul Walsh contributed to this report. Abby Simons 612-673-4921