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Published: 12/1/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Mother, son killed over $4, relatives say

Page St. home found stripped of valuables, car after attack

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Henry Serrano, left, Tina Serrano, and family friend Tim Caldwell pause while clearing what's left of the belongings. Henry Serrano, left, Tina Serrano, and family friend Tim Caldwell pause while clearing what's left of the belongings.
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Timothy Blair and his mother died for $4.

Relatives say that Timothy, 14, and his brother Gary, 17, were outside a North Toledo carryout at Mulberry and Page streets Saturday night when they were approached by a man who allegedly assaulted and robbed Gary of the cash.

Fifteen minutes later, they say, the man came back and quarreled with the boys at their home. Veronica Serrano went outside, telling her sons to come in, when that man, armed with a rifle, allegedly opened fire.

Timothy and his mother, 34, were hit.

Gary ran inside the home at 1357 Page and into the basement, where he hid.

"Gary's terrified, he saw everything that happened," said Gilbert Serrano, 43, Veronica's older brother.

PHOTO GALLERY: Family, friends mourn loss of Serrano, Blair

Daurin Patton, 27, of Toledo is the man accused by police of firing the fatal shots. He was arraigned Monday in Toledo Municipal Court, charged with two counts of murder. He is being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $2 million bond.

Authorities say Patton went to the Page Street home at about 10:20 p.m. that night and opened fire. They have not released information about a second son being involved or witnessing the shooting. Toledo police's public information officer, Sgt. Joe Heffernan, did not return calls seeking comment on the case Wednesday.

Mr. Serrano said his sister moved her children to Toledo early this summer for a fresh start after facing a number of heartbreaks in Michigan and to be closer to her granddaughter, who lives in the city.

Mr. Serrano said Saturday was his birthday. He had his phone turned off to enjoy a quiet evening at home; when he decided to turn the phone on at about 1 a.m., he had more than a dozen missed calls.

That's how he learned his sister and nephew were gone.

After spending her first two weeks in Toledo over the summer, Ms. Serrano, a stay-at-home mother, was ready to move back home. Her north-end neighborhood was too dangerous, her family recalls her saying.

"She was too afraid to let her kids play outside," said Farah Mahs, 34, who said she and Ms. Serrano were best friends.

On Wednesday morning, Ms. Serrano's siblings and friends made the drive from Detroit to Toledo to clean up the home and pack up the family's belongings.

When they arrived, they found the front door had been kicked in, jewelry and other valuables were gone, the home ransacked. Ms. Serrano's car, which was going to be for the children, was gone too, Mr. Serrano said.

"They flipped everything," Mr. Serrano said, adding that the perpetrators also left the gas on inside the house.

Christina Mahs, a friend of Veronica Serrano's since childhood, puts red roses in front of family pictures. Christina Mahs, a friend of Veronica Serrano's since childhood, puts red roses in front of family pictures.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

The family said they recently buried Ms. Serrano's nephew Michael Ingram, Jr., 23, a sergeant from Monroe assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. He died April 17, 2010, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated.

Tina Serrano, 37, Veronica's sister, said the family has another nephew in the service -- a Marine, Ricky Jurish, 22, who is stationed in North Carolina.

Tina Serrano recalled telling her nephew about Veronica and Timothy.

"He said, 'Maybe I'm out here fighting the wrong battles. Everyone I'm fighting for is taking away my family,' " she recalled.

The family described Ms. Serrano as a strong woman with a big smile and Timothy as a young boy who mostly kept to himself and liked to play video games.

"Toledo needs to come together," said Henry Serrano, 33, Veronica's brother. "There are all these killings. Why?"

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.



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