TODAY'S PAPER
96° Good Afternoon
96° Good Afternoon
NewsNew York

Cops eye diary found at suspected murder-suicide scene

Firefighters and other first responders work on the

Firefighters and other first responders work on the site of a fatal fire on Staten Island. (July 22, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Police are analyzing a charred diary found at the scene of last week's fatal arson fire on Staten Island in an effort to uncover how a mother and her four children perished in what is believed to be a murder-suicide, said a law enforcement official.

The diary appears to be in the same handwriting as a fragment of a note containing the words "Am Sorry" found in the gutted apartment in the Port Richmond section, said the official, who didn't want to be named.

Leisa Jones, 32, was found dead early Thursday in the apartment with her son Raymond Romoy, 14, and her three younger children, police said. A police source said Jones wrote the diary and the note.

While police believe Romoy, who had a history of setting small fires, may have killed two of his siblings with a straight razor, set the fire and committed suicide, they have not ruled out the possibility Jones took the lives of her children, the official said.

In a new twist, autopsies of both Jones and Romoy found undigested pills in their stomachs and further tests were being done to determine what they contained, the official said. Two children, Brittany, 10, and Melanie, 7, died from having their throats slashed, said a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner. Jermaine, 2, died of smoke inhalation and burns, said spokeswoman Ellen Borakove on Friday.

Investigators initially focused on Romoy, who was also known as C.J., because he had been seen setting small fires outside the house earlier in the day, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said last week. Romoy also set a small fire at a nearby public swimming pool the same day, said Browne. In addition, when Romoy was found dead in the apartment, police said he appeared to have a slashed throat and was lying face down on a mattress, with a straight razor under his body.

Browne said police have ruled out anyone else beyond Jones and the children being in the apartment right before the fire started. Causes of death for Jones and Romoy were listed as pending because toxicological tests are not completed.

More news