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September 23, 2017

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Neighbors stunned to learn mother stabbed and killed children, herself


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Metro police stand near a crime scene investigation truck near the site of a double-homicide and suicide Friday, April 19, 2013, in the Mountain’s Edge development in the southwest part of the valley.

Updated Sunday, April 21, 2013 | 1:20 p.m.

Triple homicide reported

Christa Watson always thought there’d be a red flag, a warning that foreshadowed tragedy, but Friday afternoon couldn’t have been more normal. Then ambulances and police cars came rushing to her neighbor’s home.

Watson immediately felt sick. She doesn’t know many neighbors on Wolf Pack Lane, but she knew one. Hope, her 9-year-old daughter’s neighborhood friend, lived in the house.

Police confirmed what Watson feared – Hope, her brother and her mother were dead. With tears in her eyes, Watson had to explain the news.

“I told my daughter, ‘Something bad happened, but let’s say a prayer,’” Watson said.

Metro Police officials determined that a woman, later identified as Hae Chong Serra, 40, had stabbed her son and daughter and then turned the knife on herself in the 10000 block of Wolf Pack Lane.

The Clark County Coroner's Office identified the children as Hope Stream Serra, 11, and Cory Yoon Serra, 9.

Police have not said whether the father was home or injured in the attack.

The news has reverberated throughout the quiet housing development, near the desert just off Blue Diamond Road and Durango Drive.

It was normal to see the garage door open as the woman cleaned and trimmed the bushes. Hope would come over to ask to play with Watson's daughter -- though less and less in the last few weeks. The news has left Watson and her neighbors struggling to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

“I want to find out how, what, and why this happened,” Watson said. “Just for my own peace of mind.”

Watson knew the mother mostly through their daughters’ friendship. She felt safe sending her daughter to their house, and loved hosting Hope whenever she wanted to play. Like most children, the girls loved to play video games or pretend outside.

“She was the sweetest, quietest kind of girl,” Watson said. “Never got in trouble.”

Though Watson didn’t know much about the family's personal life, they seemed like the picture of a happy family to her. Two months ago she took her daughter and son to Hope’s ice skating birthday party, which was filled with cake, presents and friends.

Watson often saw the mother, husband and their son and daughter at the neighborhood pool. Meanwhile, the mom was the quintessential neighbor, there with that extra cup of any cooking ingredient whenever Watson ran out.

Another neighbor, Marilee Botos, said the mom kept a pristine yard, and the kids always played outside and seemed healthy and well dressed. They were a quiet family who never fought.

“Nothing at all stood out that wasn’t normal, so this is very sad,” Botos said. “The lack of details is disturbing.”

On Saturday, the two-story stucco home’s garage, windows and doors are sealed up with orange crime-scene stickers; a yellow ribbon of leftover police tape flaps in the wind.

Yet the family’s aqua minivan is still parked in the driveway, their landscaping remains pristine and a Yeti-like stuffed animal is perched in a side window.

It appears to be the home of a happy family, but sometimes things aren’t as normal as they seem.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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