LaSalle County House Fire Deaths-Now Murder-Suicide

By WEEK Producer

July 15, 2011 Updated Jul 15, 2011 at 7:45 PM CDT

LaSalle County Sheriff Tom Templeton and Coroner Jody Bernard revealed their preliminary investigation into a house fire near Grand Ridge indicates arson was involved.

Further they say the deaths of 11-year old Jordan Shepard and 9-year-old Jake Shepard were the result of homicde. They say the boy's mother, 36-year-old Jennifer Shepard was a suicide.

It appears their house was intenionally set on fire

Autopsies today show that each of them had sustained stabbing and/or cutting wounds. A weapon was recovered at the scene.

The incident remains under investigation by the Sheriff, Coroner and Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office. Authorities are awaiting final autopsy and toxicology results as well as the Arson Investigator's report.

Meanwhile the superintendent of Grand Ridge School, which the two boys who died in the fire attended, brought in grief counselors and social workers Friday to help classmates cope with the tragedy.

"We really stress it here at the school. We have a big fire safety week," said Mathis. "Its just a shame that something like this happens to kids in our community and to the mother. Everyone's just shaken up by it."

Neighbors were reluctant to talk about the loss. Police had arson dogs on the property Thursday night.

The two boys who died were about to enter the 4th and 6th grades.

"They were nice boys," said Mathis. "One was a little more spirited than the other, but at the same time not a bad boy."