Grand Canyon fire probe points to murder-suicide

AP News
Posted: Oct 05, 2011 8:26 PM
Grand Canyon fire probe points to murder-suicide

The investigation into the deaths of three people whose bodies were found inside a charred motor home at the Grand Canyon points to a possible murder-suicide, National Park Service officials said Wednesday.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Shannan Marcak did not elaborate, other than to say the bodies appear to be those of an adult and two children and that no one else is involved. Authorities have not released the identities, but a Minnesota school district identified the three as two students and their father.

Jennifer McNeil, a spokeswoman for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school district, identified them as Jersey DeHaven, a kindergartener at Skyview School in Oakdale, sixth-grader Jace DeHaven and their father, Anthony DeHaven, who had been vacationing in Arizona. She said a grandmother of the students informed school officials of the deaths Tuesday.

"Our hearts go out to the entire DeHaven family, she said. "Jace and Jersey DeHaven were both bright and wonderful students," she said.

Firefighters responded to a report Monday of smoke in the RV's cab, but it was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Once it was extinguished, investigators were able to enter the RV and found the occupants' remains.

One autopsy was conducted Wednesday but the results weren't released. Marcak said she didn't expect positive identification until later this week.

The RV was in a parking area along the most-traveled road into the Grand Canyon's popular South Rim near a sign where tourists often pose for pictures. Authorities had reopened the area to the public by Wednesday afternoon after removing what was left of the RV, Marcak said.