House fire covers up mass murder

FISHKILL, N.Y. – A house was set on fire early Friday to cover the slayings of a family of five, police said.

The bodies of Tina and Manuel A. Morey and their three children were found after fire partially collapsed the roof of the wood-frame house in Fishkill, 60 miles north of New York City.

One child, about 10 years old, died of multiple stab wounds, said Dr. Kari Reiber, chief medical examiner in Dutchess County. Another child, around 6 years old, died of blunt force trauma to the head, she said.

Autopsies for Manuel A. Morey, 33, Tina Morey, 30, and Manuel Morey, 13, were scheduled for Saturday. Police said that the remains of 10-year-old Adam Morey and 6-year-old Ryan Morey also were found in the house.

Neighbors said the victims were renting the modest house, which is set back some 50 feet from a busy roadway amid tall trees.

“A lot of families come and go there,” said Louanna Bell, who lives down the road but did not know the victims.

State police said a burned-out car found about a half-mile from the house played a role in the slayings, though it was not clear how.

A woman who said she was the aunt of the young victims talked to police at the scene briefly and left sobbing.

“They’re my nephews,” Christine Zito said. “They don’t deserve this.”