NYPD probes possible murder-suicide fire

July 26, 2010 at 8:10 PM
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NEW YORK, July 26 (UPI) -- New York officials say they are examining evidence to determine who was responsible for a suspected murder-suicide fire that wiped out a Staten Island family.

A charred diary and possible suicide note found in the home Thursday may have been written by Leisha Jones, the mother of four children who died in the house fire, and not by her oldest son, the New York Daily News reported Monday.

Investigators initially thought the oldest child, C.J. Jones, 14, had slashed his two younger siblings' throats before setting the house on fire and cutting his own throat. Leisha Jones and a 2-year-old son also died in the blaze.

Now, NYPD officials say it may have been the mother.

"We believe that the badly charred note and diary found in the wreckage of the fire were written by the same person -- the mother," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

C.J.'s father said pressure on the teen to help raise his siblings created friction between him and his mother before the tragedy.

Earlston Raymond, who lives in Jamaica, said his son was overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising his three younger siblings and wanted to join him -- but his mother refused.

"Leisha never wanted to send back C.J.," Raymond said. "I know C.J. wasn't the one to kill himself and kill his brother and sisters."

Leisha Jones's family said they refused to believe she played a role in her family's death.

"We do not think it's Leisha," her sister Sharon Scott said.

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