Local News

Police search for motive in stabbing deaths of three New Bern brothers

Posted March 18, 2015
Updated March 19, 2015

— An 18-year-old New Bern man was charged early Wednesday with stabbing to death three young neighbors and wounding their mother and older sister.

The names of the boys, ages 1, 5 and 12, their mother and 14-year-old sister haven't been released.

Eh Lar Doh Htoo, of the 800 block of Pasteur Street, is charged with three counts of murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. He was being held without bond in the Craven County jail.

Police Chief Toussaint Summers Jr. said Htoo lived near the family and knew them, but he didn't know any more about their relationship. Investigators haven't determined a motive for the attack.

Officers responded to a home on Pasteur Street shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday, where they confronted and subdued Htoo, police said.

"The first officers who arrived on the scene observed the suspect with a knife," Summers said. "They gave him commands, and he complied with the commands."

Investigators found two of the brothers dead inside the home, and the third one died after being taken to CarolinaEast Medical Center.

The mother and her daughter were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released. Neighbors said the girl jumped from a second-story window to escape the attack.

Police say Htoo has no prior criminal record, but neighbor Ner Wah said he had concerns about Htoo's mental health. He said the teen frequently rang his doorbell late at night, once punched the door and even claimed to be married to Wah's sister.

"The way that he talks and he acts, he looks ... crazy or something, like something's wrong," Wah said. "It's not like normal."

He said he urged Htoo's mother to get counseling for the teen.

"I say, 'OK, if your kid is crazy, take to the hospital, to the doctor,'" Wah said. "I say, 'You better do that. If you don’t do that, your kid will do something worse and worse.'"

Investigators recovered a machete from the victims' home. The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting New Bern police with the case.

New Bern Police Lt. Ronda Allen said a language barrier has complicated the investigation. Htoo is Burmese, and all of the victims were Karenni, an ethnic group that lives in southern Burma.

The victims have been in New Bern for only a few months, said Susan Husson, director of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina's Interfaith Refugee Ministry. She said about 1,800 refugees from Burma, a Southeast Asia nation also known as Myanmar, live in New Bern.

"It’s pretty rare in that community or most any refugee community that I know of to have a violent crime," Husson said. "They are very resilient or they would have never made it here. They’re very brave and very resourceful people."


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  • Lydia Zakia-Fahey Mar 19, 2015
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    Hi everyone I recently set up a go fund me account to help with funeral costs for the family. All proceeds will go to Interfaith Refugee Ministry(for the family)

    Please, please do what you can to help!

    thank you


  • Anne Havisham Mar 19, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    How necessary was this comment? Is it begging for a list of homegrown Americans who committed horrid crimes? Is it begging for a list of immigrants who have made great contributions to the colonies and, now, the US? Is it begging for someone to define multiculturalism and to point out that Native Americans might have something to say about the downside of a multicultural North America with the addition of Europeans into the mix?

    If it's begging for attention, it got mine.

  • Mary Zulch Mar 18, 2015
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    2 Were just babies, really. the 12 year old on the brink of being a young adult. The person who did this probably will indeed, be charged and convicted, with 1st degree murder. Any pleas of insanity would fall on the groups who helped get him here, and how well they did their job of determining dangerous or mentally capable he was,
    Most people who commit these crimes are US citizens or gang members. I do not know where this is going. I do hope, however, that stupid insanity pleas is not one of them. You don't kill babies. Period.

  • Edward Levy Mar 18, 2015
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    The first new report, had a group of charges that DID NOT include murder This current report is unclear whether he is now being charged with MURDER.

  • Fred Garner Mar 18, 2015
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    View quoted thread

    There's no rush with the Murder charges. Let the investigators and the DA's get their ducks in a row first. This punk isn't going anywhere. The Judge would not DARE to let him out.

  • Edward Levy Mar 18, 2015
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    I do not see a charge for MURDER!
    How COME?

  • Timmy Strickland Mar 18, 2015
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  • Timmy Strickland Mar 18, 2015
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    he should have gotten no bond at all

  • Steve Austin Mar 18, 2015
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    The crazy part is how he is still posting to his Social media sites as if nothing was wrong between yesterday and his arrest. No language barrier on FB.

  • Corey Jenkins Mar 18, 2015
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    The crazy thing is this happened just 2 blocks from the police station.