HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK (WCBS.CNN) – Family and friends are trying to grasp how a mother, daughter and friend were massacred by a family member.
Nassau Police say 34-year-old Bobby Vanderhall bludgeoned to death his mother, Lynn, his 29-year-old sister, Melissa, and Melissa’s best friend, Janel Simpson. All were at the Vanderhalls’ home.
Simpson’s parents say their hearts are broken.
“Her smile, her love,” said Janel’s mother, Wendy Simpson.. “She was so protective of me.”
Relatives say Melissa Vanderhall worked as a physician’s assistant. Her mother, Lynn, spent decades teaching children at daycare.
But Lynn Vanderhall’s interactions with her son had grown more frightening, and she had an order of protection against him.
“She had always been there for him, being a loving mother, making sure he gets help and everything. She did her best,” said Juanita Johnson, a relative of the family.
Police said when Bobby Vanderhall showed up at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, he was enraged to find himself locked out of the house.
A police spokesman said Vanderhall then found a framing hammer in the garage. He used the tool to break through the basement door into the residence. He then used the weapon to attack everyone he saw, including a fourth woman, 29-year-old Candace Murray, who managed to fight back, escape the house and call for help.
One of Murray’s relatives said she is in the hospital now, recovering from her injuries.
Bobby Vanderhall was arrested nearby, sleeping in a car. His prior arrests include DWI and sexual abuse.
Police say the suspect has been homeless since his mother kicked him out of the house. The investigation is underway.
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