Investigators suspect murder-suicide in fire deaths of adult, child


by Brad Woodard / KHOU 11 News

Posted on April 29, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Updated Saturday, Apr 30 at 12:23 AM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Two people were found dead Friday morning after a fire inside a northwest Harris County home.

The victims have been identified only as an adult and child. Neighbors said a woman, Liliana Micolta, and her 8-year-old daughter lived in the home. A search of Harris County records shows Micolta bought the house in 2004 and by many accounts kept to herself.

Investigators suspect it was a case of murder/suicide.

Firefighters were called to the fire in the Brenwood subdivision around 9:30 a.m. by Micolta's mother.

She discovered the fire after driving to the home on Dunsley to check on her daughter.

"I just heard screaming and neighbors tried to break in," said Ruth Valdez, who lives nearby. "But there was too much smoke coming out and I think it was a little too late."

The mother told investigators she became concerned by her daughter's behavior earlier Friday morning. The daughter drove to the mother's home in Richmond and dropped off some documents -- including birth certificates -- without explanation, according to the mother.

"It's very shocking because who knows what was going through her mind?" said Janet Valladares, another neighbor. "Whenever we saw her, she was, like, it was fine. There was nothing wrong with her."

Micolta's mother collapsed in the front yard, apparently after learning no one had survived the fire.

"Our investigation is in its early stages but the evidence indicates the fire originated in one of the bedrooms," said Lieutenant Dean Hensley with the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office. "The exact cause is still under investigation and we are working closely with the Harris County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Division on this case."

Investigators say they won't be able to make positive identifications without an autopsy.

One firefighter was injured while battling the fire. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment.