Fire Deaths Of Scotch Plains Mother & Child Being Investigated As Murder/Suicide

SCOTCH PLAINS — The Union County Homicide Task Force is investigating the death of a mother and her child following a fire in Scotch Plains on Tuesday evening, Prosecutor Theodore Romankow said Wednesday evening.

Around 7:15 p.m., the Scotch Plains Police and Fire departments were dispatched to a residence on Church Road. When the arrived, they found Katherine Halverson, 32, her son Jeremy McDonald Jr., 3, and their dog in a bedroom on the second level of the house.

The mother and child were transported to a local hospital where they were pronounced dead a short time later. The dog died at the scene.

An autopsy of the victims was conducted Wednesday morning and revealed that the manner of death was a homicide/suicide, officials said. The cause of death was asphyxiation due to inhalation of combustible materials.

Investigators believe that Halverson closed herself and the child in a small bedroom and set fire to the room.

The Union County Homicide Task Force is continuing its investigation.

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