The investigation into the deaths of three people whose bodies were found inside a charred motor home at the Grand Canyon points to a possible murder-suicide, National Park Service officials said Wednesday (Oct. 5).
Grand Canyon spokeswoman Shannan Marcak did not elaborate, other than to say the bodies appear to be those of an adult and two children and that no one else is involved. Authorities have not released the identities, but a Minnesota school district identified the three as two students and their father.
Jennifer McNeil, a spokeswoman for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school district, identified them as Jersey DeHaven, a kindergartener at Skyview School in Oakdale, sixth-grader Jace DeHaven and their father, Anthony DeHaven, who had been vacationing in Arizona. She said a grandmother of the students informed school officials of the deaths Tuesday.
Firefighters responded to a report Monday of smoke in the RV’s cab, but it was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Once it was extinguished, investigators were able to enter the RV and found the occupants’ remains.
One autopsy was conducted Wednesday but the results weren’t released. Marcak said she didn’t expect positive identification until later this week.
The RV was in a parking area along the most-traveled road into the Grand Canyon’s popular South Rim near a sign where tourists often pose for pictures. Authorities had reopened the area to the public by Wednesday afternoon after removing what was left of the RV, Marcak said.
Grand Canyon National Park authorities said there were fatalities after an RV caught fire Monday (Oct. 3) morning.
At approximately 7:20 a.m., firefighters responded to a report of a motor home with smoke in the cab just south of the entrance to the park and found an RV fully engulfed in flames, according to Shannan Marcak, spokeswoman for Grand Canyon National Park.
After the fire was extinguished, investigators determined that the RV had been occupied at the time of the fire. Authorities found the remains of three people inside.
The cause of the fire has not been determined. The Flagstaff Fire Department and the Coconino County medical examiner are assisting with the investigation.