A woman found dead after a fire in a New Hampshire home had been shot in the head, authorities said Tuesday, announcing that they believe her estranged husband killed her during a custody exchange of their adult child.
The man was seriously injured in the fire that erupted in the home in Derry and remains hospitalized in Boston, according to the office of New Hampshire Deputy Attorney General Jane E. Young. But if he recovers, prosecutors intend to charge him with first-degree murder.
The woman is presumed to be Lynn Marie Viana, 53, though her identity still needs to be confirmed. An autopsy on Tuesday confirmed her cause of death as a gunshot to the head, prosecutors said.
Investigators believe that Viana was dropping her child off at the home of her estranged husband, Manoel Viana, 57, on Sunday, when he invited her inside. After she entered, neighbors heard two sounds like gunshots coming from the home on Mt. Pleasant Street, and shortly afterward the building caught fire, according to prosecutors.
"The presence of ignitable liquids was detected within the residence and on or around Ms. Viana's body," prosecutors said in a news release.
Manoel Viana was apparently burned in the fire and also has apparent head trauma, prosecutors said. They didn't reveal what they believe led to his injuries.
On Monday, authorities said three Derry police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries while retrieving Manoel Viana from the home. After dragging him out, first responders weren't able to go back inside because of smoke, and the body believed to be Lynn Marie Viana's was found after the fire was extinguished.
"It was very scary because we didn't know how the fire started," said Lisa Poirier, one of the shocked neighbors.
Officials had said there was no evidence to suggest that there was a threat to the general public and asked neighbors for any surveillance video they may have showing the time leading up to the fire.