A Ohio couple and their 2-year-old daughter who were found dead inside their fire-ravaged home on New Year’s Day died as a result of a murder suicide carried out by the father.
The deaths of Nerissa Distin, a 33-year-old nurse at Mount Carmel Rehabilitation Hospital, and 2-year-old Serina Morris “are now being considered the subjects of homicide investigations,” Columbus police homicide detectives said in a news release.
In the same release, detectives said, “Preliminary investigation efforts have determined that Gary Morris’ actions resulted in his own death.”
The couple and their daughter were found dead Jan. 1 at their two-story southeast Columbus home shortly after neighbors called to report the house was on fire.
When firefighters arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames. Firefighters found Distin and Morris, 42, at about 7:40 p.m. Serina was discovered about 90 minutes later.
It is unclear how the family of three died or what caused the fire.
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Kara Whyte told ABC6 that Distin was a victim of domestic abuse.
“[Morris] deliberately told her a couple months back that he was thinking of how to kill her in her sleep then kill himself,” said Whyte.
Whyte said Distin had sent her a text in December saying Morris had tried to stab her in the presence of their daughter.
“I told her not to go back. She said she was finished. That is the last straw,” Whyte said. “He started going to therapy. I think the last one was before Christmas. She said she was going to go with him.”
“She always said he would kill the baby just the same because he didn’t want to leave her,” she added. “He would say the baby is his life. He was thinking like, to leave her (baby) without her mom and him, it doesn’t make sense I don’t know, or he doesn’t want anyone else to raise her,” said Whyte. “Why kill the baby? It’s just, just so inhumane.”
Anyone with information regarding this incident, is asked to call the Columbus Police Homicide Unit at (614) 645-4730 or Central Ohio Crime Stoppers at (614) 461-TIPS.