In Akron, Ohio today [Thursday, March 17], authorities said that two girls and their mother were dead before their father set their home on fire back in January, which caused a massive explosion that killed him and shook the neighborhood, according to the Associated Press.
Allegedly the girls, eight-year-old Ruthie and 12-year-old Alyson, were strangled or smothered and the mother, Cynthia Mather, died of a Prozac overdose, according to both the Summit County’s medical examiner and officials. The father, Jeffrey Mather, died from burns after he set the house on fire. His death is being ruled as a suicide.
The bodies had been found on January 11 inside the Northfield Center Township home where the mother and daughters were first discovered in the first-floor hallway. According to reports, the medical examiner found there was no evidence of smoke inhalation in either the mother or daughter, so investigators suspect that all three of them had been upstairs and fell to the first floor when the ceiling collapsed.
It is unclear as to whether the mother killed herself or was poisoned, but she did have a prescription for antidepressants, according to reports, and the medical examiner couldn’t determine who killed the girls. Reports explain that Mather was a deacon at his church and he had been suffering from severe depression and allegedly wanted to end it all.
According to the Associated Press, “In early December, he heard a ‘dark voice’ encouraging him to kill himself in a park, according to police, and has been seeing a counselor since then. An officer with the Cleveland Metroparks had found Mather alone with a shotgun loaded with a single slug. Mather told the officer he had put the shotgun to his head several times, but put it down because he saw park visitors walking nearby, the police report said.”