Police: St. Louis-area woman drowned 2 kids, set fatal fire

AP News
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Posted: Jun 11, 2016 5:33 PM

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) — Police in a St. Louis suburb said Saturday that they believe a 37-year-old woman drowned her two children in a bathtub before dying in a house fire that she appeared to set intentionally.

The St. Peters, Missouri, Police Department said in a statement that it believes Jenny Ayers "played a role" in the deaths of her two children. All three of their bodies were found after officers and firefighters responded to a fire at their home Thursday evening.

The police said the three were the only occupants of the house and, "there has been nothing to suggest any outside foul play."

When officers and firefighters arrived, the home's doors were locked and dead-bolted from the inside, police said. The bodies of the two children, 10-year-old Jordie Hines, and 5-year-old Jada Hines, were submerged in a bathtub.

Preliminary results from autopsies performed Friday showed that the children died from drowning and Ayers died from injuries sustained in the fire, police said.

Ayers' body was found near the home's back door, where the fire started, and a gasoline can was nearby, police said.

The Police Department said the investigation remains active, and its spokeswoman, Officer Melissa Doss, declined to discuss a potential motive for the drownings or fire.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (http://bit.ly/25QJTsR ) that Jenny Ayers' brother, Leon Ayers, said she continued to struggle after moving from Clearwater, Florida, about 18 months ago.

"She had some drug-related habits that really got to her in the past," Leon Ayres told the newspaper. "We moved her up here to get her away from that stuff, and we got her into rehab. You can stop by as much as you want and still not really know, you know? I knew she was unstable."