Mother looked at as suspect in SI murder suicide

July 26, 2010 3:39:46 PM PDT
Investigators say a Staten Island mother and son who died in a suspected murder-suicide and arson had ingested some type of drug.

Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press on Monday there were traces of drugs in the bodies of Leisa Jones and her son. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because further tests were pending.

Police are trying to determine whether the mother or the teen caused the five deaths in a torched apartment.

A charred note found inside the apartment has cast doubt that the initial suspect, 14-year-old C.J. Jones, actually did it.

Police say the handwriting on the note, reading "am sorry," matches writing in the mother's diary. So they have not ruled out that Leisa Jones may have killed her children, set the fire and then killed herself.

One neighbor found that hard to believe.

"She doesn't look like the type that would write a note like, that would even do something like that," Christine Walters said.

She looked like she loved her children?

"She was always with her kids," Walters said. "I don't think she wrote it."

Police recovered a long butane stick lighter at the scene. They say it had a suicide note stuck to it with the words "am sorry" still legible.

But aside from that, they can only make out random and separate words that so far have not given context or significance to the case.

Jones' family was at a loss for words.

"I was crying, crying desperate and wanting to come down here," grandmother Marcia Anderson said.

Police are still investigating the case as a murder suicide, but no final determination has been made about who was responsible for the slashings and the blaze.

Detectives described C.J. as a suspect because he had a history of playing with fire. The bodies of Leisa Jones, her son and two young daughters were found dead early Thursday with their throats slit.

Their 2-year-old brother died from smoke inhalation at the hospital.

C.J. was found with a razor under his body.