By Bryan Navarro
MEDFORD, Ore. — Autopsy results reveal a mother and her two children who were found dead in a burning Salem home were shot. The medical examiner also says a fourth victim, who was just an infant, was likely asphyxiated.
The family was found dead in their Salem home Tuesday. 3-year-old Angelica Lazukin, 1-year-old Zoe Lazukin and the infant, Sefi Lazukin, are believed to have been killed by their father, also accused of killing his wife and their mother, 26-year-old Natalya Lazukin.
Officials say they all likely died before the fire started. The medical examiner has not yet released the report on the father’s body to determine the exact cause of his death; he was found dead in a car in Cottage Grove. Firefighters found the four victims when they responded to put out a fire at the family home on Fisher Road NE in Salem around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
The Salem case is the fourth instance in the Northwest of a father murdering his family, and then setting his house on fire, in the last year and a half. In July, Tabasha Paige Criado and her four children were found murdered in their home, which was set on fire. The father, Jordan Criado, is awaiting trial for their deaths. It’s one of four cases in Oregon and Washington that have eerie similarities, with no real answers as to why.
Forensic psychologists have said that family mass murders are rare and unusual. Experts in the domestic violence field say it’s all about control and burning down the family’s house may be the final, desperate grasp to get the last word. Community Works officials say there may be local ripple effects of the latest murder. They say women who are experiencing domestic violence may wonder if their partner is capable of something like this. Advocates say what they hope for is being able to bring that victim to safety.