N.Y. house set on fire to cover slayings

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FISHKILL, N.Y. (AP) – A house was set on fire early Friday to cover the slayings of at least two adults and three children, police said.

The bodies 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.

Their identities hadn’t been confirmed, and autopsies on the other three bodies were scheduled for Saturday.

No other information about the victims was immediately available. 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. They’re 13, 10 and five,” Christine Zito said. “They don’t deserve this.”

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