New details in an apparent murder-suicide that left five people dead reveal a woman and two children died of gunshot wounds to the head while a third child, who was just 4 months old, died of asphyxiation.
Salem police said all four were found dead at the home in the 2800 block of Fisher Road Northeast. Fire crews were called there at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday after a neighbor spotted smoke and they soon found the bodies in the burning home.
The mother, 26-year-old Natalya Lazukin, died of gunshot wounds, said Dr. Larry Lewman, with the state medical examiner's office. She was shot twice in the head.
Lewman said one of the children was shot once in the head and the other was shot twice in the head. The two girls were identified as 3-year-old Angelica Lazukin and 1-year-old Zoe Lazukin. Police identified the infant as Sefi Lazukin.
"She was a very good mom," said Slavik Bute who identified himself as one of Natalya's brothers. He and other family members visited the scene Wednesday to drop off flowers and pictures of the family.
"She was always cheerful, and she brought the family together," he told Fox 12. Bute said he saw his sister last Sunday.
"She did a baby shower for my wife," he said. "I'm glad I could see her for the last time."
A man believed to be the children's father was found dead hours later in a car in Cottage Grove, which is roughly 85 miles away. His autopsy is expected to take place Thursday.
Salem police described the deaths as a domestic-related murder-suicide.
"Honestly, none of us believe it, and I don't believe it at all," said Ella Ignatovich who said she grew up with Natalya and attended the same Slavic Church.
"They were a good Christian family," she described. "They loved each other."
Natalya's family says she worked as dental assistant. Fox 12
learned Nick Lazukin took classes at Chemeketa Community College, where he's
been a student since 2003.
An article from the Chemeketa Courier from March of 2012
profiled Nick as a student balancing studies and family life.
However, close friends, loved ones and neighbors all say
they never suspected any problems.
"Just a young, average, American family," described Steve
Cox, the property manager where they rented for the past two years. He
described them as a great family and good tenants.
Investigators have determined the fire at the Lazukins' home was as a result of arson, but they have not said who they believe is responsible for starting the fire.
Lewman said police are also still investigating whether a sixth death is related to the killings at the Salem home. Devan Matlock, 21, was found dead along the side of Fisher Road not far from the burning home Tuesday morning. He died of trauma to the head.
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