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Monday, Jul 28, 2014
Pasco Tribune

Women’s deaths in Hudson fire ruled homicides

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Published:   |   Updated: February 4, 2014 at 06:50 PM

LAND O’ LAKES — Two women found dead Monday morning during a fire at their Hudson home were victims of “homicidal violence”, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office

“From the onset, we realized that we had a crime scene because their deaths and how they occurred were undetermined,” Capt. Mel Eackley of the sheriff’s office said. “Today, we did receive information from the medical examiner’s office that both victims died of homicidal violence.”

Firefighters were called to the 14235 Pine St. home of Jessica Keith and Amber Lynn Jordan, 24-year-old roommates, about 7 a.m. Monday.

At the time of the fire, neighbor Josh Smith ran to the home in an attempt to save the women. He said once he got to the rear door of the home, which is on the second floor, one of the women was laying partially out of the door. A portion of her body was still on fire, he said.

Smith said he pulled the woman’s body onto the patio and yelled inside the burning home to determine if anyone else was still inside, but flames and smoke pushed him back.

Authorities say they have leads on identifying the suspect. A description of the suspect was not released Tuesday, but the vehicle last seen in the area was described as dark in color. Authorities did not release a make or model of the vehicle.

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the home that burned had been flagged recently, while the women lived there, as a location of possible drug activity.

“For our citizens in the Hudson area, we want them to realize, these were high-probability victims,” Nocco said. “This house, we’ve had a tip that drug activity was going on there. We have information (about people) that we are looking at as possible suspects. This was not a random act.”

Although no cause of death was given during a press conference Tuesday, investigators said the fire was set to cover up a crime.

“The trauma that was seen immediately upon our arrival led us to believe that it was suspicious and how quickly the blaze had engulfed the residence was also suspicious in nature based from an arson investigator’s comments,” Eackley said. “So the totality of both of those together led us, right from the onset, to believe their deaths were suspicious.”

Eackley and Nocco did not provide information on whether any weapons were found or the cause of the fire.

A small dog, which was caged inside the house, also died in the fire, authorities said.

The women, according to Smith, lived at the house for less than a month.

Eackley said the women had been seen alive as early as 6 a.m. on the morning of the fire. At some point, the father of one of the victims left the home with a dog. He was performing renovation work on a nearby house. At some point after he left, the fire was set, Eackley said.

Anyone with information on the case can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.crimestopperstb.com. A reward of up to $3,000 has been offered for information that leads to the identification and arrest of suspects in the case.

edaniels@tampatrib.com

(813) 371-1860

Twitter: @EDanielsTBO

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