A woman who was found dead in her Chatham home along with three children 10 days ago on the South Side was strangled, according to autopsy results.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office has found that Latoya Jackson, 28, died from ligature strangulation and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to a spokesman.
Relatives told the Chicago Sun-Times the other three bodies were her three sons: Andrew, 11; Cameron, 9; and Cantrell, 5. The medical examiner’s office has not identified the children, and the autopsy results for all three remain pending further testing.
“The ME’s office continues to work with family to confirm identification of the children,” spokesman Frank Shuftan said.
There was evidence of a fire in the home, but it was contained to the inside of the building and had not spread or been reported, according to a Chicago Fire Department official. The bodies had some burns, but it was not known whether they occurred before or after the deaths.
Shuftan said it was not possible to tell how long the bodies had been in the house, because of the heat and advanced state of decomposition.
Relatives told the Sun-Times the family had not been seen for about a week before their bodies were discovered when police investigated a bad smell coming from the home.
A source reported that Latoya Jackson also appeared to have a head injury.
A joint death investigation was being conducted by several agencies, including the police Bomb and Arson Unit; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives; Illinois State Fire Marshal; and Chicago Fire Department Office of Fire Investigation, said Special Agent Thomas Ahern, spokesman for ATF.
Ahern said the nature of the scene — the number of bodies and evidence of fire — required the multi-agency response.
“It was a hazardous situation because of the condition of the bodies,” said Ahern, who could not comment on how the bodies were found.
He added the investigation might take a while because it’s not “a basic fire scene.”