Children murdered prior to Northfield fire

Police say the father committed suicide by setting the house on fire

The Summit County Coroner ruled a Northfield fire a murder-suicide.
Courtesy: WOIO, Cleveland

NORTHFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – A Summit County medical examiner’s report finds that the children who died in a Jan.11 house explosion in Northfield were suffocated prior to the explosion and fire.

A family of four was killed in a house explosion in Northfield Center, Ohio.The Summit County Coroner’s office released their findings Thursday which indicate that Jeffrey Mather, 43, died of injuries sustained in the fire. His death was ruled a suicide. The report states that Mather burned himself while using gasoline to set the house on fire.

Mather’s wife, Cynthia Mather, 43, died of an overdose of Prozac, according to the coroner’s report, however, her manner of death is “undetermined” to reflect that it is not clear if she committed suicide or was murdered.

The couple’s two children, Alyson Rose Mather, 12, and Ruth Ann Mather, 8, were murdered by suffocation. The coroner said in the report that he could not speculate who was responsible for the children’s death or how they were suffocated.

In early December, an officer with the Cleveland Metroparks found Jeffrey Mather alone with a shotgun loaded with a single slug in a park.

Mather, who according to media reports was a deacon at his church, said he had been suffering from severe depression and wanted to end it all, according to the police report.

He told the officer that he had put the shotgun to his head several times, but he put it down because he saw park visitors walking nearby, the report said.

Mather said he prayed for God’s help and a man approached him and later called authorities, the officer wrote.

He was then taken to a hospital for treatment, the report said.

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