A 9-year-old Florida boy, his mother and and an aunt were discovered dead in a reported triple homicide after their home was set on fire earlier this week, according to local authorities and news outlets.
The mother’s husband, Tony Hughes, has since vanished, Florida Today reports.
The bodies of Hughes’ wife, 39-year-old Chrissy Hughes, her sister Linda Woods — who was reportedly visiting — and her son, Sebastian Meachum, were found over the course of two days at the Hughes home in Malabar, Florida, according to Florida Today, the Orlando Sentinel and a statement from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
The residence had been completely consumed by flames, according to the Sentinel.
“Evidence that has been uncovered thus far [leads] investigators to believe that the fire was intentionally set at the residence to cover up homicides,” the sheriff’s statement reads.
Causes of death have not been released but they were all ruled homicides due to evidence of trauma, according to Florida Today.
The sheriff’s office statement noted recent “domestic issues” between Chrissy and Tony but said that records showed “there have been no calls to the residence, nor are there any injunctions in place.”
“This really is the biggest travesty in my life,” a woman described as Sebastian’s older sister wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
In a follow-up post, she invited local residents to help her clean up the house, which she described as “nothing but rubble.”
Sebastian lived at the home with his mother and Tony, his stepfather, the sheriff’s office said.
Officials first responded to the scene after a call on Sunday about 10:30 a.m. reporting a fire at the home.
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The sheriff’s office said that a truck and boat trailer registered to the Hughes was later found running at a nearby landing with the boat missing, according to the statement.
Witnesses had reported seeing the truck leaving the residence on the morning of the fire with the boat attached, CBS News reports.
The boat was later found a few miles away from a local inlet, running in circles in the water with “blood evidence” inside, authorities said.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s office at 321-633-8413. A sheriff’s spokesman did not immediately return messages seeking comment.