PEKIN, Ill -- The parents of a Pekin man killed in a weekend fire say they are hard pressed to explain the circumstances leading up to their son's death.
The Tazewell County Coroner said 43-year-old Lawrence Medearis Jr. died in a fire that broke out late Saturday night at 13999 Towerline Road. An autopsy conducted Monday showed Medearis died of extensive thermal injuries due to the garage fire with no signs of other trauma.
Reports suggest that Medearis set the fire, after an attempt to cut his estranged wife with a hatchet.
His wife reportedly had a restraining order issued on him, and the couple had a history of domestic disputes.
Medearis' parents say his death is an example of how depression can turn deadly.
"He has had many friends," Mary Medearis said. "Everybody just thinks the world of him. And just seeing the report on him, it just broke my heart, because he's not that kind of person. He's not evil. He just lost it."
"He couldn't deal with the pressure of the restraining order, and the separation stuff just got to him and he snapped. That's all I can say," Lawrence Medearis Sr. said.
Lawrence Medearis Jr. had a 5-year-old son with his estranged wife. His parents say the family's main goal is to offer comfort and support the boy.