UPDATE: TEMECULA: Care home fire that killed 5 confirmed murder-suicide
UPDATE: 10/24/2016 4:30 p.m.
TEMECULA – Investigators from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit and Southwest Station, in conjunction with Cal-Fire’s Arson Unit, announced today that a fire at a Temecula area care facility that killed five people was arson related. Additionally, four of the five people found at the residence after the fire sustained injuries consistent with gun shot wounds, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Wallace Clear.
The location of the fire, the Renee Jennex Small Family Home, was a state licensed full-time residential care facility for adults with developmental disabilities. The facility had four patients living at the location when a “suspicious” fire gutted the residence Aug. 29.
“Evidence located at the scene indicated the fire was caused by arson,” Clear wrote in an updated press release about the incident and ongoing investigation. “Autopsies of the deceased along with evidence at the scene revealed four of the fire victims suffered injuries consistent with gunshots.”
The decedents have now all been identified as 37-year-old, Milford Battison; 35-year-old, Richard Driskill; 31-year-old, Miguel Ferreyra; 26-year-old, Jared Prudhomme; and their caretaker, 50-year-old, James Jennex.
At this time, the Riverside County Central Homicide Unit is investigating this incident as a possible murder-suicide.
“The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will ensure a thorough investigation is conducted, and is seeking any information,” Clear wrote.
Individuals with information related to this ongoing investigation are encouraged to contact Central Homicide Unit Investigator Brandon Mullins at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number SW162420005 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.
UPDATE: 09/02/2016 1:20 p.m.
Coroner’s officials have identified four of the five people killed in Monday’s blaze at the Renee Jennex Small Family Home, a care facility that was destroyed by a fire in Temecula
James Jennex, a 50-year-old male who was the administrator of the care facility, Jared Prudhomme, a 26-year-old male, Milford Battison, a 37-year-old male, and Richard Driskill, a 37-year-old male.
A fifth person killed in the fire has been listed as a male, although he has not yet been publicly identified.
UPDATE: 08/31/2016 12:30 p.m.
Investigators from multiple agencies have spent the last several days scouring through the burned ruble of a Temecula area residence destroyed by a blaze Monday, Aug. 29. The investigators have been searching for clues as to what triggered the fatal blaze and why the four adults being cared for at the care facility had not been able to flee from the fire.
The rural residence was licensed as the Renee Jennex Small Family Home. The residential care facility was licensed to care for up four developmentally disabled adults who were all considered ambulatory and should not have needed assistance in exiting the residence during an emergency.
The facility was first licensed by the state in 2003. In 2007 the facility applied to expand its capacity to four ambulatory residents and no non-ambulatory or bedridden residents. According to the California Department of Social Services and the Riverside County Fire Marshal, the care facility underwent inspections in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Some have questioned why the care facility did not have fire suppression sprinklers installed throughout the facility. However, according to state law, existing single-family dwellings that are converted to care facilities similar to the Renee Jennex Small Family Home that house six or fewer clients are not required by state law to have sprinklers unless there is more than one bedridden client.
Although none of those who died in the fire have been identified by coroner’s officials, family members have stated one of the deceased included 50-year-old James Jennex, the administrator at the care facility.
TEMECULA – Investigators from the Southwest Station, the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit and Cal-Fire Arson Unit are conducting a homicide investigation at a home in the 41400 block of Cruz Way, just east of the city of Temecula, according to Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Wallace Clear.
The residence was the site of a blaze Monday, Aug. 29 that destroyed much of the home. The location was licensed as a residential care facility and authorized to care for up to four adults with developmental disabilities.
After the fire was extinguished fire investigators found the bodies of five adults inside the residence. The day after the fire, Riverside County sheriff’s officials declared the house a crime scene and called the fire “suspicious.”
The blaze at the care facility was reported to Riverside County emergency dispatchers at about 5 a.m.
The first arriving firefighters advised finding flames and smoke showing from the residence. 22 Firefighters from five engine companies and one truck company responded to the blaze, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer Jennifer Fuhrman.
Fire personnel knocked the flames down in about an hour and were in the process of sifting through the ruble of the fire when “they discovered the remains of five adults inside,” according to Clear. After finding the bodies of the five victims, fire investigators contacted sheriff’s officials to assist in conducting an investigation.
“The origins of the fire have not been determined and are still under investigation,” Clear explained.
The decedents’ remains are being held at the Coroner’s Office while officials make positive identification of the victims. However, one of the victims was believed to be James Jennex, administrator at Renee Jennex Small Family Home.
Investigators are asking anyone with information regarding this case to contact Investigator Mullins at the Central Homicide Unit by calling (951) 955-2777 or Investigator Gorlicki at the Station at the Southwest Station at (951) 696-4357. Callers can refer to incident file number SW162420005 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.