MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The man accused of killing his two daughters and their mother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has officially been charged with their murders.
Arzel Ivery, 25, appeared before a judge in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday. According to a criminal complaint, his father initially called the Memphis Police Department and said Arzel had killed Zaniya Ivery, 5, and Camaria Banks, 4, as well as their mother, Amarah Banks.
According to the criminal complaint, the last time family saw Amarah and her daughters was when they dropped her off at her apartment around 1 a.m. on Feb. 8. Shortly after, a neighbor named Velta Lee, who shares a wall with where Amarah lived, said loud noises woke her up.
"And I heard like some loud thumping on my wall, and I heard a lady screaming, so I jumped up and I hear her screaming, 'No, no, help me, help me,' so I dial 911," Lee said.
The complaint goes on to say another witness saw Amarah run through the parking lot to another apartment without shoes on and appeared to be bleeding from the mouth. The complaint says that witness told investigators they saw Arzel drag Amarah back to the apartment.
"Then I heard her screaming some more, and the last thing she said was like, 'Please don't kill me,' and then it just got silent," Lee said.
According to the complaint, investigators went into Amarah’s bedroom and found a hole in the wall that appeared, "consistent with a larger object hitting the wall, such as a head."
The complaint says investigators called Arzel at one point, who said he was in Memphis and would return on Feb. 21 for a police interview. In this conversation, the complaint says Arzel told police he didn't know where Amarah and the daughters were. According to the complaint, he told investigators he and Amarah got into an argument "because Ms. Banks blamed the defendant for the death of her son."
On Feb. 7, family held a funeral for Amarah and Arzel’s 1-year-old son, Zel. A Milwaukee County Medical Examiner report says the boy died naturally of viral bronchitis. The report states the boy had asthma and he got sick with a cold. The report goes on to say, "his father took him to the hospital where he was found to be pulseless on arrival."
MPD detectives traveled to Memphis to interview Arzel, where they say he gave them information that led to them finding the three bodies. The mother and two daughters were found dead in a garage on Feb. 16.
In police interviews, Arzel said there had been tension between him and Amarah since the recent death of their son on Feb. 7. He allegedly admitted to going to her house on Feb. 8 during which time the two got into an argument and Arzel eventually strangled her to death.
Arzel told police he did not want the children to "live in a world where they did not have their mother," so he went into each child's bedroom and strangled them as well, according to the criminal complaint.
The criminal complaint says Ivery claimed that it was his family, that he brought into this world and that he could take them out if he wanted.
Ivery faces life in prison for the homicides of Amarah, Zaniya and Camaria.
This story was originally published by Stephanie Haines at WTMJ.