‘Grandma’s house’ where Petersburg family was murdered torn down

Posted at 7:27 PM, Sep 17, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-18 12:41:29-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A demolition crew spent part of Wednesday morning knocking down the burned out shell of a Petersburg home where three women and a toddler were found dead earlier this year.

Five months later, the "person of interest" in those murders,  Alexander Hill, remains on the run.

The house, affectionately known as Grandma's House or Aunt Pauline’s, is now being replaced with a memorial garden.

The family made the decision to tear down home as part of their healing process. It  and to help the community get rid of a scar that for many won't truly go away until an arrest is made.

"Today is a sad day really but at the same time is moving forward,” said Raymond Washington, a family member of the victims.

Washington said moving forward has not been easy for the family since four generations were wiped out in the slaying.

Family members watched as the house is demolished.

"The decision to bring the house down is kind of eerie to me because coming past here, just knowing the house is not going to be here is kind of sad," said Tynesha Chavis, another family member of the victims.

Alexander Hill

It was a tough decision but one which also serves as a way for the neighborhood to heal as well.

"We felt this particular demolition was needed to help clean the block up, in spite of what tragedy has happened here," Petersburg City Council’s Howard Myers said.

With the house gone, a memorial will sit in its place.

"Even if the structures not here, it's still 721 -- Aunt Pauline's House," Washington said.

Relatives learned on April 19 that four family members, Pauline Wilkins, Vickie Answar, Tanique Chavis and Delvari Chavis were found dead inside the burning home. Shortly after, police named Alexander Hill as a "person of interest" in the four deaths.

While a memorial garden will help in the healing process, the family said closure will not come until there is an arrest.

"Every day is a struggle, waking up just knowing he's still out there," said Tynesha Chavis, family member of the victims said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the US Marshal Service announced the reward was now $10,000, which brings the total to more than 15,000.

If you have any information about Alexander Hill, call 877-WANTED2.