Two drug dealers seeking revenge on a 16-year-old boy who allegedly stole from them shot and killed his 5-year-old sister, police said.

Katherine Staples was shot several times in the chest when the drug dealers burst into her house late Tuesday night, police said."These two drug dealers wanted to leave a message to the 16-year-old who ran off with their drugs: We don't have you, but we got your family," Inspector Hubert Yopp said Wednesday.

"These two men mercilessly and methodically tracked this 16-year-old for over a month. And when they could not find him, they killed his sister and tried to kill his girlfriend as a message."

The two dealers stormed the house shooting and searching for the 16-year-old, police said. They instead found the youth's 18-year-old girlfriend and his sister, shooting them as they fled. The youth's father escaped out the back door, and the girl's mother was unharmed.

"Katherine didn't even have any inkling of what crack is," said Eugene Littleton, 34, a neighbor. "The innocent always suffer."

The 18-year-old woman, whom police declined to identify, was treated and released from Detroit Receiving Hospital.

Police said witnesses reported the 16-year-old boy stole some of the dealers' cocaine, $50 cash and a gun. He now is in protective custody.

The youth's father, Freddie Banford, 36, earlier told the dealers he would repay them for the stolen property and cash, but they refused, police said.

Police had no one in custody Thursday.