NJ mom set home on fire, killed son in murder-suicide: cops

Posted at 11:40 AM, Dec 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-21 14:05:08-05

Katherine Halverson with her 3-year-old son Jeremy Scott McDonald. (CREDIT: FACEBOOK)

SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. (PIX11) –  A blaze that killed a New Jersey mother and her 3-year-old son is now being investigated as a murder-suicide, authorities said.

According to officials, the bodies of 32-year-old Katherine Halverson and son, Jeremy Scott McDonald Jr., were found inside their charred Scotch Plains home Tuesday.

Investigators initially believed it was an accidental blaze but announced Thursday that evidence suggests that Halverson shut herself and the child inside a 2nd floor bedroom in the home and lit the fire herself.

The New Jersey mother, who was reportedly in the middle of a heated custody battle, allegedly “placed material, like rags, in front of the door then poured an accelerant on the rags and lit them on fire,” Scotch Plains Police Chief Brian Mahoney said in a statement.

The family dog was also found dead inside the home.

The investigation into the apparent murder-suicide is ongoing.