Family shot before fire was set
The four bodies found inside the burned-down Cumberland home of Francois Mailly, believed to be the man's wife and three children, were all shot before the fire was lit, preliminary autopsy results show.
The coroner's early findings into Sunday night's multiple homicide were released yesterday by Ottawa police, who confirmed that the fire was set deliberately. An accelerant -- such as gasoline or a similar substance -- was used to burn the house, as well as a shed and a garage.
Investigators from the police force's arson squad and the Ontario Fire Marshal's office have been working since the time of the fire to determine what happened inside the farmhouse on Dunning Road. At about 9:15 p.m., neighbours heard an explosion and then saw a man, believed to be the 40-year-old owner of the home, postal carrier Francois Mailly, on fire in front of the house. He burned to death.
By the time firefighters arrived, the house was enveloped in flame. It burned to the foundation.
While dental records will still be needed to confirm the identities of the four bodies found in the ashes over the following days, the bodies match the gender and size of Mr. Mailly's 37-year-old estranged wife, Francine Mailly, and children Jessica, 12, Brandon, 9, and Kevin, 6.
Yesterday, Shawn Mailly, the brother of Francois Mailly, held a press conference next door to the burned-down house. Mr. Mailly said he and his family wanted to offer their condolences to the family of his late sister-in-law.
"This is an enormous tragedy for both of our families," he said.
Mr. Mailly also urged anyone who is having family troubles to seek counselling or use whatever other resources are available, including the police.
"There's always help," he said.