January 2, 2003
Posted at: 3:54 p.m. CDT
TRUMANN, Ark. -- Police in Trumann released a statement today saying that the cause of death of a pregnant mother and four children who died in a Christmas tree fire was smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The bodies were identified as 26-year-old Beatrice Ivy, who relatives said was seven months pregnant, and her children: 6-year-old twins Sheryl and Jerald Mason; 4-year-old D-J Mason, 4; and 22-month-old Sally Ann Mason.
Police said autopsies showed on evidence of blunt trauma.
Reggie Ivy found the bodies of his sister and her children when he went to the home Friday night to check on the family. He had seen her the night before and the children seemed happy, he said, especially Sheryl, who was playing with a Barbie bicycle she got for Christmas.
Authorities said the origin of the fire may have been a cigarette lighter on a couch near the tree, or faulty Christmas tree lights.