Victims in New Jersey fatal fire were stabbed, son charged with murder

JAMESBURG, New Jersey (WABC) -- The son of one of the victims has been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated arson in a stabbing and fast-moving fire that left two people dead in New Jersey.

Firefighters arrived at the house on Sheridan Street in Jamesburg at approximately 3:45 a.m. Wednesday to find heavy flames that caused extensive damage to the structure.

The bodies of 53-year-old Clifford Kitchen and a family friend were discovered a short time later, and officials said the autopsies revealed that had both been stabbed.

On Friday, authorities announced that 21-year-old Jaree Kitchen had been taken into custody and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, second-degree aggravated arson, hindering prosecution, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and destroying physical evidence.

The victim's sister, Lawanda Kitchen, told Eyewitness News that her brother had a huge heart and would often allow struggling individuals to stay at his house until they got back on their feet.

"He would never turn anyone away," she said. "If he had a friend in need, he would open his doors to anybody."

The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Jason Muller of the Jamesburg Police Department at (732) 521-0011, or Detective Deon McCall of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-3848.

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