Man wanted for questioning in NY fire found in NH

By Chris Carola
Associated Press / July 13, 2011

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WHITE CREEK, N.Y.—An ex-convict wanted for questioning in a New York house fire that killed his mother and two others was taken into custody Wednesday in New Hampshire and his girlfriend and their infant son were found safe, authorities said.

Officers had been searching for Matthew Slocum since the fire early Wednesday in White Creek, N.Y., along with his girlfriend and son, whom they said he may have been holding against their will. He was found in Gilsum, N.H., about 80 miles away, where his abandoned car had been discovered hours earlier, according to Massachusetts State Police.

Slocum is the son of Lisa Harrington, who died in the fire along with her husband, Dan, and his son Josh in White Creek, which is 35 miles northeast of Albany. Amber alerts had been issued in New York and New England for his girlfriend, 25-year-old Loretta Colegrove, and their infant son, Raymond.

He was taken into custody in a home in Gilsum and the alerts were canceled, said David Procopio, a Massachusetts State Police spokesman. A dispatcher with the New Hampshire State Police could not immediately confirm the capture, saying all officers were at the scene in Gilsum.

WCVB-TV in Boston reported that investigators tracked down Slocum in Gilsum and, after several hours of negotiations with police, he freed the woman and the infant he had been holding.

A short time later, Slocum surrendered.

Local TV footage showed police escorting Slocum to a cruiser waiting in a poorly lit street. The woman was seen holding the infant as she walked, surrounded by armed police officers, soon after Slocum released them.

The alerts had been issued after Slocum left the burning home in a black 2003 Ford Mustang. He was reported near Adams, Mass., at about 5 a.m., and authorities said the empty vehicle was found late Wednesday afternoon in Gilsum.

Guns known to be in the home couldn't be accounted for, and police told the Glens Falls Post-Star they were asking neighbors whether they heard shots before the fire.

Dan Harrington was a deputy highway superintendent. "They were good people. Dan was a real good employee," White Creek town Supervisor Bob Shay told the Post-Star. "We all feel horrible. It's just so sad."

He said Harrington and his wife served on the town recreation committee.

Slocum went to prison in 2006 for breaking into a house and stealing cash, a New York prison spokesman said. He was released but returned to custody twice for violations before his parole expired in December 2009.

Police haven't released any information about the cause of the fire.


Associated Press Writer Rodrique Ngowi in Boston contributed to this report.