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Mystery deepens in blaze that killed 5

Associated Press / July 27, 2010

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NEW YORK — A single mother and her teenage son apparently ingested some type of drug before dying in a suspected murder-suicide and arson that claimed the lives of three other children in their apartment, two law enforcement officials said yesterday.

Pills were found in the stomachs of Leisa Jones and the teen — both considered suspects in the gruesome deaths — during autopsies last week, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because further tests on the cause of their deaths were pending.

The preliminary findings deepened the mystery surrounding a case that was briefly believed to be an accidental fire before becoming a homicide investigation.

The New York Police Department said in a statement yesterday that there still was “no final determination as to who was responsible.’’

Firefighters responding early Thursday at the family’s Staten Island home found the charred bodies of Jones and two daughters, ages 7 and 10, in a front room, and that of her 14-year-old son, C.J., slumped over a bed in a back bedroom. A 2-year-old son pulled out alive died later at the hospital of smoke inhalation.

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