PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – A celebration of life inside Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Petersburg.
“Earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal,” Charles Willis, Executive Director, Citizens Against Crime, said.
Songs and prayers filled the sanctuary as mourners remembered four generations, whose lives were cut tragically short.
“God is still good, and he is still worthy to be praised,” Pastor Lamont Hobbs said.
Last Saturday, police were called to the burned-out home at 721 Harding Street after firefighters discovered the bodies of Pauline Wilkins, her daughter Vicki Chavis Ansar, Granddaughter Tanique Davis and Great Grandson Delvari Chavis.
The Medical Examiner said Wilkins and Ansar died from stab wounds to the torso. The other two died from from heat and smoke inhalation.
Alexander Hill Jr. is named a person of interest in the case. He is an ex-boyfriend of Vivian Chavis. Chavis lived at the home, but she wasn’t there when the violence unfolded.
“They were like family to me. And it hurts me to see my friend and my love ones hurt so bad over something tragic,” family friend Sheila Lewis said.
But the focus during Saturday’s service was on love, support and how this close-knit family was deeply-rooted in their faith. Pauline Wilkins led by example.
“She was one that was loving. She was one that was caring. She was one to support you in spite of what you were going through. You may be messed up. But she was right there to support you every time,” family member Roy Washington, Jr. said.
As the family deals with this devastating loss, community members offered to help them get through.
“To look at somebody and see the type of pain those people are in. You can’t get ready for that ever,” family friend Peter Branch said.
Petersburg Police and the U.S. Marshals service are searching for Hill. A $5,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to his arrest. If you see Hill, call police immediately.