Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fatal East Liverpool fire ruled murder-suicide

May 22, 2012
By JO ANN BOBBY-GILBERT - Staff Writer (jgilbert@mojonrews.com) , Morning Journal News
EAST LIVERPOOL - As previously reported, a March 17 fire that killed a father and his three sons was deliberately set, and county Coroner Dr. William Graham has now ruled the boys' deaths as homicides by arson and their father's as suicide by arson.
Ulrick Estimot, 37, and his sons Trey, 11, Terrell, 7, and Trenton, 5, perished in the early-morning blaze at their 941 Vine St. home. Angela Latshaw, fiance of Ulrick and mother of the youngest two boys, arrived home about midnight to find the home on fire after a passerby kicked in the front door, which was locked from inside.
Officials ruled within days that the fire was deliberately set, but no additional information has been forthcoming, pending the coroner's ruling, which was released Monday upon a request from the Morning Journal.
In the case of Ulrick Estimot, Graham said, "You could say his death was self-immolation (suicide by fire); he died of smoke inhalation. The boys also died of smoke inhalation."
His sons all had "very high" levels of carbon monoxide in their lungs, and while their father also had a high level of the deadly gas in his lungs, it was not as high as the children's, Graham said.
"You'd think they'd all be the same, but everyone reacts differently to fire," Graham explained, adding, "Probably, the father died faster than the children; he was the one with the gas can."
Graham said Estimot spread gasoline by the bedroom doors of the two older boys, then poured it down the stairwell to the living room downstairs, which was the fire's point of origin.
The bodies of Estimot and Trenton were found downstairs, the older boys upstairs.
Graham said if, as it appears, the father was at the site of the accelerant, the destruction of his pulmonary system from inhalation would be a quicker death than the death by carbon monoxide suffered by his children. He had reported earlier that all four victims also suffered burns of varying degrees.
Both the passerby and Latshaw had reported to police they heard the children screaming inside the burning home when the door was kicked in. They as well as police officers and firefighters were unable to get inside the home due to the intense fire and heat.
Graham said there was no indication the children had been immobilized by other types of injuries prior to the fire being set.
The police, fire department and state fire marshal launched a joint investigation, the outcome of which will be outlined in detail today at a 2 p.m. press conference in City Hall.

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