The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is working the deaths of a mother, father and infant discovered in a burned out Woodland Acres home Tuesday as a triple homicide, authorities confirmed Thursday.
A source told our News4Jax partner the mother and father were shot. It remains unclear how the 11-month-old baby died, but a source told News4Jax she suffered from possible smoke inhalation and had an injury to her forehead.
Firefighters answering a call at the home on India Avenue near Arlington Expressway learned a Christmas tree had caught fire.
Homicide detectives were notified after firefighters discovered three bodies inside.
Sgt. David Smith previously said investigators suspected foul play, but noted there were no signs of forced entry. He added that the soot made it difficult to look around inside.
Police confirmed Thursday that the three were murdered.
Police have not yet identified the victims. But relatives identified the woman as Ariyan Johnson, the man as her fiance, Quasean Trotter, and their child as Aeriel, according to News4Jax.
"What is my cousin supposed to do now that her daughter and her granddaughter is gone today? How does she, her sons, his sisters and brothers, that her daughter is not coming home? How do we go about Christmas and we don't have her," said Latavia Harris, a family member.
"It's ridiculous that these cowards are killing babies. She's not even one. You didn't even have to do that. You didn't have to do that to Aeriel."
Trotter's sister told News4Jax her brother was the type of person whose energy would light up a room.
"Houses are close and there’s no way nobody saw or heard nothing. There’s no way," Trotter's sister said. "Somebody needs to start talking because of the babies, and if that was your child?"
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.