Sister homicide victims latest in series of young women killed w -

Sister homicide victims latest in series of young women killed within city limits

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( - Police found the bodies of sisters 20-year-old Antquonette Hale and 15-year-old Tahnaizja Smith in a vacant lot along Vandeventer on Sunday.

This latest homicide of two young women follows two other women found dead in a home on Natural Bridge Road. While police say the two cases are not connected, News 4 wanted to see what is being done to prevent violence against women.

"They were good kids, they will be missed" said Lorina Spraggins, grandmother of Hale and Smith, who family members say were very close. Spaggins said, "I was just shocked, you never expect this, I never prepared for it."

The sisters were found shot to death in a vacant lot in the 300 block of Vandeventer, which is now one teen and three young women killed in the city in just five days.

James Clark of Better Family Life, a community outreach organization, believes the rising murder rate is tied to the lack of services in under-served neighborhoods.

"Anything from drug treatment, employment, anger management, financial literacy to mentoring programs," Clark said, are all services needed in these neighborhoods.

Family members of Hale and Smith now ask for any witnesses to the homicides to step forward.

"Just please come forward, help us," Spraggins said. "It won't bring them back, but at least it will bring us peace."

Police want witnesses to remember they can remain anonymous if they call Crimestoppers with information.
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