Brother says NH murder victim struggled with drugs before she was stabbed to death
FARMINGTON - Jeff Sullivan and his family were devastated to learn that his older sister, Christine, was the victim of a brutal murder hundreds of miles away.
"I get very emotional thinking about my sister. It's tough, knowing that I'm never going to be able to see her again," he said.
Christine Sullivan was hit in the head and stabbed several times on Jan. 27. She and another woman, Jenna Pellegrini, were both killed inside a home on Meaderboro Road in Farmington that day.
Christine is from New Jersey, where Jeff, their mother and other relatives still live.
Sullivan said he first learned that something happened to his sister because of a Facebook post. A friend texted him around 1 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, two days after officials say Christine was killed and nearly 24 hours after the attorney general's office began a "suspicious death" investigation.
"She said there was a cryptic post on [my] sister's Facebook page. It was like a kick in the gut," Sullivan recalled. "It took ten hours to find someone that was able to let us know that my sister was potentially involved in a double homicide."
Sullivan said his sister drifted apart from the family in recent years and struggled with addiction before she was murdered.
Christine's boyfriend, Dean Smoronk, owns the home she was killed in. The pair split their time between Farmington and Cape Coral, a town in southwestern Florida.
Police have arrested and charged Timothy Verrill, of Dover, in the murders.
Smoronk confirmed Verrill was a friend of the couple's, and they often let him stay at their home. He explained there was tension between Verrill and Christine, but "he seemed fine."
Jeff said he know of Verrill and wasn't surprised that his sister was open to helping a friend when they needed it.
"Your cause was her cause. She could take over any circumstance or any room when she walked into it," Jeff said, explaining she had a dynamic and bold personality to pair with her generosity. "I mean, she just commanded respect, really, but in a good way."
That was were Smoronk was travelling back to New Hampshire from on the day Christine was killed.
"Christine would take on anything she believed in and was as amazing as any woman in my life," Smoronk said in a Facebook message. "We used to joke that she had Vikings in her bloodline because though she was sweet and kind she was as strong, tough, smart and fearless as a woman gets. Above all, she was resilient and her defining characteristic was that she never gave up."
Christine's family held a memorial service for her in New Jersey over the weekend. Jeff said the outpouring of love was overwhelming, but the reality that his sister is gone is still sinking in.
"It’s tough, knowing that I’m never going to be able to her again."
Now, Jeff said he and his family is searching for answers.
"I just want justice," he said. "I want to be able to have someone face justice and accountability, and then I will forgive them."