Police: Children drowned before St. Peters house fire started, Mother played role in deaths

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ST. PETERS, MO (KPLR) - Investigators have revealed new information in the case of a mother and her two children who were found dead after a house fire last Thursday in St. Peters, MO. Autopsies have revealed that Jordie, 10, and Jada Hines, 5, drowned before the fire started. Authorities now believe that Jenny Ayres, 37, intentionally set the home on fire.

St. Peters Police say that the doors were locked and dead bolted from the inside when Central County Fire arrived on scene at around 6:00pm Thursday, June 9, 2016. Neighbors had been knocking on the doors and windows trying to alert the family to the danger.

The only occupants inside the home were the mother and the two children. The body of Jenny Ayres was located near the back door, where the fire originated. There was a gas can located near her body. The two children were found in the bathroom, submerged in a tub of water, deceased.

The preliminary autopsy results for Jordie and Jada Hines show a cause of death by drowning prior to the fire being set.  Ayres died from injuries sustained in the fire. The Major Case Squad and St. Peters Police Department believe she played a role in the deaths of her children. There is reportedly no evidence to suggest any outside foul play. This is still considered an active investigation; therefore, St. Peters police and the Major Case will not be releasing any more information until investigation is complete.

The Major Case Squad will be deactivated by the end of Saturday, and the case will be turned over to St. Peters Police Department for any other follow-up investigations.

Family members are stunned by the sudden loss and discussed the loss of the 3 loves ones, and how they are hard press to come up with the with funeral expenses. If you can help, please click here. 

On Friday, family members of the mother and two children spoke with detectives late in the day to learn more about the case. They told FOX 2 it was just too much, too soon to talk about at the time. Neighbors on the 1800 block of Elmtree Street were struggling to understand why the family didn't make it out of their burning home alive. Neighbors say Jordie was outgoing and had a zest for life. They say his sister had Spina Bifida but was looking forward to going to kindergarten this fall.

Neighbors tried to alert the family when they saw heavy smoke pouring from the chimney, but they couldn't get into the home. Smoke alarms were sounding. First responders rushed the children to a nearby hospital but they could not be saved. Their mother was pronounced dead at the scene.

"We want the neighbors to still feel safe in their community. Obviously they are concerned and shaken up and also they are grieving as well. But we want them to know we really do believe this is an isolated incident and obviously if they have any information about that household or anything that could help in this investigation we do want them to call us" said St. Peters Police Officer Melissa Doss.

A memorial grows in the front yard of the home with heartfelt condolences of flowers, stuffed animals and notes. One handwritten note remembers Jordi's sense of humor. His friend writes, "I can remember how he made me laugh. I will miss him."