Plano Community Honors Memory of Jogger Killed While on Trail

Sarmistha Sen, 43, was a wife, mother and researcher at UT Southwestern. Plano police say they have a person of interest in custody.

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All-day Monday along the Chisholm Trail Park in Plano, friends, family and strangers placed hundreds of sneakers around two trees in memory of a woman who was attacked and killed while jogging Saturday morning.

Sarmistha Sen, Ph.D., was a wife, mother of two young sons and was a clinical research manager at UT Southwestern whose focus involved cancer research.

A friend described her as an amazing singer who was originally from Eastern India and involved in the community.

Plano police said Sen's body was discovered along the creek area at the Chisholm Trail Park near Legacy Drive and Marchman Way around 7:12 a.m.

“Chills ran through my body it’s not something you see every day," said Greg Sidon, who along with another couple, discovered the body. "It was very upsetting, to say the least, it’s still upsetting, she has a beautiful family and she was a scientist.”

Plano police said the death was a random attack. The cause of death is currently unknown, but Sen was not shot, police said.

They also have a person of interest in custody.

“You know, I’ve been with this department for 23 years and I can't recall any incident like this happening, our trails have always been safe," said Ofc. David Tilley, a spokesperson for the Plano Police Department.

He said they received multiple calls including a burglary call along Michael Drive that morning.

"The location of the burglary and the location of the body in the creek was very close, probably 30, 40 yards away," Tilley said.

Police said they arrested and charged 29-year-old Bakari Abiona Moncrief for the burglary. He was found several blocks away from the alleged crime. Police said in a statement that he is an out-of-state resident who was in town visiting relatives from another city outside of Plano.

Bakari Abiona Moncrief
Plano Police Department
Bakari Abiona Moncrief

The burglary happened around 6:07 a.m. Saturday in the 3400 block of Michael Drive, the owner of the home that was burglarized said his Ring video showed a man using a statue from his yard and a rock to smash his truck windshield, then break his front door window.

"I’m totally shocked because I can’t believe that this mad man went and killed somebody and then came up onto my house where it was fully lit up, smashing through my property, through my truck, smashed my windshield, smashed my front door," Michael Jones said. "He came into my home trashed my family room, bled all over my carpet and was attempting to get in the master bedroom."

Jones said he was asleep at the time, but always has a barricade against his door. He believes that's what deterred the suspect from entering.

"I just thank God, it was a Godsend. God protected me that night," Jones said.

He's not releasing the Ring video, which has floated around the community, out of courtesy to police and the investigation, but he described what he saw.

"The Ring video got him saying ‘I'm no F-ing coward’ and I don’t know what that means," Jones said. "He didn’t seem right, he seemed disturbed and angry. I don’t know what happened in his life to get to that point.”

Police said they're trying to determine if the person in the video is the same individual tied to the homicide. They said the Ring video gives them a clue, and as of Monday, they don't have any witnesses or video of Sen's death.

“In the Ring doorbell video that you saw, it appears to be still prior to daybreak to where you’re starting to get some light outside," Tilley said. "What we don’t know and are still trying to determine is, which one of these came first, which one of these offenses occurred first. Did the burglary take place first or did the murder?"

Neighbors claim they've seen the person of interest before and police said people have told detectives that they've seen him sleeping on park benches before.

"I saw him on Thursday and he was laying down on a bench in the park, so I didn’t pay him any attention I just walked by, but a number of people have seen him in the park," Sidon said. "I know he’s a person of interest, that doesn’t mean he committed the murder, that’s what the police are trying to figure out now.”

In the meantime, the community has rallied together to cope with the loss of the mother of two.

All the shoes that people have placed around the memorials will be picked up around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and donated to a charity called Trusted World.

Also, someone close to the family has set up a petition with a mission to, "We would like to petition you to ensure that Sarmistha's killer is found, duly charged for the crime and receives the punishment under the law that he or she deserves, for committing this heinous act which has debilitated this family with two young children who are now motherless."

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