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Mom and three children found dead were murdered, set on fire: Report

A Massachusetts mother and her three children were found dead Thursday in their home and appeared to have been burned, the Telegram and Gazette reports.

On Saturday, District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. described the deaths as homicides in a press conference and identified the victims as Sara Bermudez, 38, and her three kids: Madison Bermudez, 8, James Bermudez, 6, and Michael Bermudez, 2.

A relative discovered the bodies Thursday afternoon after checking on the family’s welfare at their home in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Authorities believe the deaths occurred Wednesday or Thursday. An earlier report indicated that authorities may have identified a person of interest, but at the press conference Early declined to comment any possible leads or suspects.

Investigators are looking for a plastic, yellow fuel container they believe is tied to the killings. Police are asking anyone who comes across a discarded container matching that description to call police at 508-867-1170.

“Our state police detectives and the West Brookfield police are seeking the public’s help in what we now are calling homicide deaths of a mother and her three children,” Early said Saturday. “Our investigators want the public to be on the lookout for a plastic yellow fuel can. It’s part of the case. We need to speak to anyone who comes across the yellow plastic fuel can.”

District Attorney spokesman Paul Jarvey said the yellow color indicates the container is used for diesel fuel and that the object appeared to be missing from the crime scene.

Initial police radio transmissions indicated that the relative who found the bodies said they looked as if they had been burned.

The official cause of the deaths is still pending because autopsies have not yet been finished.

Early declined to answer questions from reporters about how the perpetrator might have accessed the home. He also would not address social media postings that indicated the slayings might be gang-related.

“I can’t comment on theories at this point, suspects or motives. There are an awful lot of moving parts right now,” Early said. “We’re asking the public to remain careful and vigilant. Anything you see out of the ordinary, please call us.”

Neighbors and nearby businesses with surveillance or dashboard cameras have also been asked to contact investigators.