Dad Wrote Suicide Note, Set Fire That Killed Family: Police

Man, wife, son died; two children survived

By Peggy Cassidy, BJ Lutz and STNG Wire
|  Thursday, Jun 4, 2009  |  Updated 5:29 AM CDT
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Forty-six-year-old Kevin Finnerty died Wednesday, the day after his 11-year-old son, Garrett, and his 41-year-old wife, Patricia, were killed in a suspicious fire at their home.

Forty-six-year-old Kevin Finnerty died Wednesday, the day after his 11-year-old son, Garrett, and his 41-year-old wife, Patricia, were killed in a suspicious fire at their home.

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Mother, Son Die in Suspicious House Fire

There's shock and disbelief on a quiet tree-lined street in Arlington Heights after a suspicious fire kills a woman and her 11-year-old son, and badly injures other members of her family.
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Evidence of an accelerant and a suicide note written by an Arlington Heights father were found at the scene of a fatal fire that claimed the lives of three family members Tuesday in the northwest suburb, police announced Wednesday.

The 46-year-old father of the family, Kevin Finnerty, died early Wednesday morning after being severely burned in a fire officials sid was deliberately set by someone inside the home.   Finnerty had been taken to Loyola University Medical Center's burn unit with burns on 100 percent of his body after the fire.

An empty gas can was found inside the master bedroom, and police said the fire was consistent with the use of gasoline.

"Someone snapped," Arlington Heights Police Cmdr. Kenneth Galinski said Tuesday.

That someone appears to be Kevin Finnerty, according to police, who said a detailed search of the home resulted in the discovery of a written suicide note containing details surrounding the event. Preliminary handwriting analysis determined the letter was written by Kevin Finnerty.

Kevin Finnerty's wife, Patricia Finnerty, 41, and the couple's 11-year-old son, Garrett. also died in the fire.  They were both found by firefighters unresponsive in their bedrooms during the fire and pronounced dead a short time later.

Autopsies conducted Wednesday determined that Patricia and Garrett Finnerty died of smoke inhalation.  Kevin Finnerty died as a result of his thermal burns.

The medical examiner will determine the manner of death (homicide, suicide, natural/accidental) upon the completion of toxicology and the police investigation, according to a news release.

Two surviving children -- Bridget, 12, and Pierce, 6, -- are said to be uninjured after escaping the burning home through an upstairs window.

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