This is so sad. Another young mother and her children have been killed. This time in Rockford, Ill:
An adult and two children found dead inside a burning northwest-side home Sunday were fatally shot before the fire.
The autopsies, performed today by the Winnebago County coroner’s office, confirmed Rockford police detectives’ and fire inspectors’ suspicions.
“It appears the fire was started to cover up the homicides,” Deputy Chief Greg Lindmark said.
Firefighters responded at 4:30 a.m. Sunday to 2708 Canterbury Lane for a residential structure fire. They extinguished the blaze and found a body inside the residence. Further investigation by the Rockford fire and police departments turned up the children’s bodies. How the beige ranch home caught fire has yet to be determined.
“We’re utilizing the state crime lab, the state fire marshal, Rockford fire investigators and Rockford police detectives,” Lindmark said.
While the coroner’s office is still in the process of identifying the victims through dental records, several dozen family members, co-workers and classmates stopped at the corner residence throughout the day today. They signed their names on a poster-size sympathy card hung outside the home on a chain-link fence and placed candles, stuffed animals and three makeshift crosses each bearing the name of a family member.
The family and friends identified the victims as Tasha Cleary, a 12-year-son nicknamed “Mook” and a 2-year-son named Tarri.
Danielle Streit and Kelly Blackwell said Cleary was their co-worker at Vision Financial, a Rockford collection agency.
“She had incredible wit,” Blackwell said. “She was very funny, and she would (do anything) for those kids.”
Streit added, “She was my hairdresser. She was good person. It’s just a senseless crime.”
Cleary’s landlord, Lois Sallinger, said the family had rented the Canterbury Lane home since Feb. 1, 2010. Cleary planned to move at the end of the month into a home of her own.
“She wanted to have her own salon in the basement to do hair,” Streit said.
Neighbor Heidi Russell, 28, watched firefighters return to the scene this afternoon, venture past the yellow crime scene tape, and tote charred articles out of the house in large gray metal pails.
Also a mother of two children, Russell said she hugged her 7-year-old daughter, Tessah, and 2-year-old son, Gabin, a little bit tighter than normal Sunday after learning of the deaths.
“It’s really hard for me to see something like that,” she said. “Those kids didn’t even have a chance.”
This sounds like it might have been personal. What kind of heartless a**hole can shoot a kid, much less a 2-year-old?
R.I.P. Tasha, Tarri & Mook!