The body of a Rhode Island mother was found Tuesday morning after flames tore through her Westerly home. Now, police are trying to figure out how her son, who lived with her and who died by suicide in Connecticut hours later, may have been connected.
A fire tore through 59-year-old Patricia Martell's home on Tum-A-Lum Circle about 4:30 p.m. Monday. Because of the intensity of the blaze and extensive damage to the home, police said, her body wasn't recovered from the basement until Tuesday morning.
Her exact cause of death has not yet been determined but Westerly police said an autopsy was being conducted Wednesday. The body of a small dog was also discovered inside the home.
The fire began in the basement, where Martell's son, 22-year-old Scott Martell, lived, police told NBC affiliate WJAR.
Investigators tried locating the son. A neighbor was able to show police home surveillance of his vehicle in the driveway just before the fire, police said.
Police then tracked Scott Martell to New Haven, Connecticut, where authorities discovered he had jumped off the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Monday evening.
He died as a result of his injuries at a nearby hospital Tuesday afternoon. Police said they were unable to speak with him.
Westerly police told WJAR that, about a week ago, Scott Martell was released from a treated center. They also confirmed to the station that they'd checked in at the home in the past for domestic incidents and welfare checks.
Family of the Martells told the station that mental health is a struggle and that it's important to seek treatment.
The fire marshal's office is investigating the exact cause of the fire which authorities say started in the basement.