Local News

Domestic Troubles Figure in Probe of Fatal Fire

Posted February 23, 2007

— A restraining order that one victim of a fatal Raleigh fire obtained against another figures in an investigation that Friday found traces of an accelerant inside the apartment where a man, a woman and their infant daughter died.

The fire in an apartment on Roselle Court in Raleigh also left 17 people homeless.

The fire at the Pines of Asheton complex near WakeMed is being investigated as a suspicious death and has been turned over to the Raleigh Police Department's major crimes task force.

Raleigh Police spokesperson Jim Sughrue said the deaths of a man, woman and child are being treated as a homicide investigation until that is either confirmed or ruled out.

“They've come a long way since yesterday, when the event occurred,” Sughrue said.

Assistant Fire Chief Larry Stanford said Friday that arson investigators found what is believed to be an accelerant inside the apartment, and it has been sent to the lab for testing.

The victim's names have not been released because police have yet to notify next-of-kin. The bodies were taken to the State Medical Examiner’s office for autopsies.

The man’s former boss said the couple was having marital problems and had just been to court.

According to court documents obtained by WRAL, the woman took out a restraining order against him nine days before their deaths.

In her own writing on the documents, the woman stated, “He is go to kill me if I live the home and take the babys. I fear for the children. My friend witnessed him beat me. I couldn't call the police because he had a gun in the house.”

According to the papers, the man worked as a security guard and had the gun for that job. It did not appear from the papers that the order was legally served on the man. The order's "Return of Service" portion is blank.

A 4-year-old girl who friends said also lived at the apartment was found safe with relatives. Authorities believe the woman was the girl's mother, but the man was not that child's father.

Stanford said that as firefighters were putting out the fire, a man's body was found in one room. A woman and their 11-month-old daughter were found in another.

Neighbors said they are thinking about the girl and what she lost .

“That's the sad thing about it—who's she going to look up to? How are you going to explain to her that they’re gone?” neighbor Mae Lillian Smith said,

The other families displaced by the fire could be allowed to return to their apartments this weekend.

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • rpd911 Feb 25, 2007

    Often times the person seeking the restraining order obtains them too late. With that said, it is just a piece of paper and is not magic and won't keep evil people away. Also with domestic assaults in which a protective order is obtained the party that sought out the order will frequently allow the abuser back in the home even though the order is in effect. The solution to this and all crimes is harsher punishment for crimes. You have to make criminals really not want to commit crime before you can deter crime.

  • owlady Feb 24, 2007

    My thoughts and prayers are with all woman and children who must live in fear because of domestic violence. I question the benefit of obtaining a restraining order. It seems quite often that we hear about a murder soon after these orders are obtained.

  • New York Yankee Feb 24, 2007

    This is sad. :-(

  • plcj Feb 24, 2007

    The neighbor asked who this child was going to look up to now...I would hope and pray that this child's father or at least her father's family would take responsibility.

  • MarvinsWife12 Feb 24, 2007

    Why is that the police have not released the names but WRAL was able to obtain court documents? How did WRAL know what documents to look for?

  • 2-b free Feb 24, 2007

    They found the child with relatives but the story also said that she was not the daughter of the man mentioned in this story. She could have been with her actual father's family and not the mother's. This is so sad. I am praying for the little girl and the rest of the family members.

  • airbornegirl16 Feb 23, 2007

    I somewhat knew the victims involved in this tragedy. My mother lives in the next building. It saddens me to think that foul play could be involved and I pray for them and for answers to an unanswered question.

  • ru4real3333 Feb 23, 2007

    LifeLover- If you actually read the story you would have seen that the man was not the girls father so you cannot assume that his family has been notified, just move on if you don't want to read the whole story and if you don't understand the big words don't comment.

  • uncw05 Feb 23, 2007

    Life lover, the kid might have been with the womans family, and they might be trying to contact the mans family. They didn't say because not a single person in the family knows, just that there was family members that had not been informed.

  • LuvMyLife Feb 23, 2007

    My comment did not lack compassion. I did not say I wasn't feeling for the families. In every story it says "identities not released pending notification of next of kin" If the child was with relatives isn't it safe to assume they knew the adults and other child living in the home? That is what was meant there wasn't anything in my comment negative or rude about the people being dead. It was all in the context of being able to move on with the death in itself.