NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — In March 2015, three children, all under the age of twelve, were killed in their home on Pasteur Street. The three brothers were at home with their mother and sister when police say their neighbor Eh Lar Doh Htoo came into the house and murdered the boys. Bethany Cutherbertson was next door.
“I remember crying, couldn’t sleep just thinking about it in my head,” says Bethany Cutherbertson. “We all prayed for the family.”
She was only 16 when her neighbors were killed. She says the two families, who were both Burmese Refugees, were friends.
“They were always at each other’s house,” Bethany explains. “They walk in without knocking. That’s how close they were.”
Bethany says her family was shocked last March when the kids were murdered. After the funerals, she never saw the families again.
“People came back and put teddy bears and left letters and stuff but the parents and family never came back after that,” Bethany says.
Interfaith Refugee Ministry tells WNCT the victims moved shortly after the children’s death. Craven County District Attorney Scott Thomas says the family still lives in North Carolina but out of the New Bern community. Thomas says the crimes had a severe impact on the family.
“It’s something that sticks with those who work on the case including myself,” says Scott Thomas. “I was there the night when it happened, I went to the scene. I went to the crime scene and that’s something I’ll never forget and I’m sure the investigators never will.”
For now, Htoo is in a state mental health facility. It was ruled he could not stand trial at this time. Thomas says Htoo will be re-evaluated in the coming months. Bethany says she hopes he will go to trial soon.
“It’s not for his sake,” Bethany says. “It’s for the family’s sake. Those kids and their family needs justice and closure.”
As for the neighbors, most of the families that lived on the street during the crime have moved. Bethany says her family has gotten closer because of the children lost too soon.
“My mom had a big talk with us and said you make sure you always tell your sisters and brothers how much you love them,” says Bethany. “It changed us a lot.”
Interfaith Ministry says they no longer work with the families because they moved out of the region. They are still working with police to provide any assistance needed to help in the case.