PLANO, Texas — A cancer researcher and mother is being mourned in Texas and beyond after she was slain Aug. 1 during a routine Saturday morning jog.
Sarmistha Sen, 43, of Plano, was found unresponsive near a creek at Legacy Drive and Marchman Way, along Chisholm Trail, Plano police officials said. The trail is described as a hiking and biking trail that follows Spring Creek through central Plano.
Though Sen’s cause of death has not been made public, investigators have called her death a homicide.
Authorities responded to a burglary call around the same time that morning in the neighborhood where Sen was found dead. In that case, they arrested Bakari Abiona Moncrief, 29, who had been in Plano visiting relatives.
Ring doorbell footage obtained by NBC Dallas-Fort Worth appears to show Moncrief smashing the door of the burglarized home, which is less than 100 yards from where Sen’s body was found a short time later.
“I’m not a (expletive) coward,” the man in the video says.
The homeowner, Michael Jones, said he reached for his gun but remained inside a bedroom with his partner. They found the damage when they emerged.
“It’s absolutely terrifying. He was up in my family room, he ransacked my family room,” Jones told the NBC affiliate.
See the Ring footage in the NBC report below.
Moncrief was taken into custody a few hours later outside a nearby store, where he was using an electrical outlet to charge his cellphone, the news station said. He gave officers a statement similar to the one heard on the Ring footage when he was arrested.
Thus far, Moncrief is charged solely with burglary. He remained in the Collin County Jail on Tuesday in lieu of bail set at $1 million.
“Due to the fact that we had these close proximities and very close time frames of two offenses occurring, this individual became a person of interest in this murder investigation,” David Tilley, public information officer for the Plano Police Department, told the Plano Star Courier. “Obviously, we’re wanting to collect evidence to either determine whether he is, or he is not, the person responsible for this.”
Sen, who worked as a clinical research manager at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was born and raised in Sindri, India, according to her obituary. She ultimately settled with her husband in Plano after studying at the University of Texas Dallas and the University of Alabama Birmingham.
Roy wrote that his wife was an early riser who enjoyed jogging around the Chisolm Trail in Plano each morning. It was there that she was accosted and killed.
Police have said it was a random attack.
Following her death, a makeshift memorial of running shoes encircling a photo of Sen was erected near the spot where she was killed. On Saturday, a week after her death, a group of runners went on a memorial walk/run in her honor.
“Sarmistha lived a free and fearless life, inspiring many with her infectious energy and carefree smile,” Roy wrote about his wife. “Sarmistha was an avid runner, gardener and a great cook. She practiced healthy mindful living and she could cook extremely healthy food that tasted amazingly good.
“She was a trained singer of Indian classical music and loved to teach and perform music. She was passionate about cancer care and was a lifelong supporter of cancer research.”
Besides her husband, Sen leaves behind two sons, Neil Roy, 12, and 6-year-old Ryan Roy.
“My mom stood for many things,” Neil Roy said. “One of these was she loved nature. I remember how she would spend hours in the garden, doing all the boring stuff no one would want to do. Because my mom always knew that if she does all those boring things, at the end she would have some joy.”
Life is 95% hard work, Sen taught her son. Without that hard work, you cannot experience the 5% joy.
Neil Roy said his mother also stood for health, spending hours making nutritious meals for her family to ensure they got the best. She also encouraged him to play sports and learn music, always pushing him to be better.
“I can’t name all of her good traits because that would take all day, but there is one trait that I will never forget,” the boy said. “That is her love for her family. She would always try to find the smallest (snippets) of time to spend with us.
“That is the one thing big I will definitely learn from her, because you never know what you have until you lose it.”
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