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Family suspects 3 deaths in burning cars are related



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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- It's a puzzling pattern of deaths: three people found incinerated in their cars, on March 9, March 20 and April 2, in widely separated parts of Utah. Police investigators have suggested suicide, but some relatives insist it's a series of horrific murders.

The relatives have no concrete evidence to back up their suspicions, and they've learned nothing that connects the three victims. The family we spoke with has been at odds with the FLDS polygamy group, but they doubt that's a factor.

The deaths were unusual and horrible. Three late-night vehicle fires so intense they obliterated evidence and identities.

Dan Fischer's son Lorin was the first to die. He says police told him of other similarities, including open car windows on cold winter nights.

"It seems beyond coincidence that all three men would have the knowledge to make sure that windows were down to the point of supplying adequate oxygen," Dan said.

Investigators say their cases are open, but they've found no evidence of murder.

Lt. Don Hutson, with the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, said, "There's nothing as far as processing the scene or the cars or interviewing witnesses that has led us to believe up to this point that we are looking for anybody who has caused their deaths."

The Fischers admit their son had a drug problem, but they say he kicked it months ago and was making plans for the future. They say they are not in self-denial about suicide.

"We can handle that. We can actually find as much, maybe more, peace with that than to believe that he was murdered and torched," Dan said.

Lorin's mother, Aleena Fischer, said, "I don't want other mothers to go through what we, what I've gone through, other families to go through what I've gone through, it's just not right."

Dan and Aleena Fischer grew up in the FLDS polygamy group and then renounced it. Dan founded a group called Diversity, which has stood against the FLDS and helped former members.

"I have thought on that; however, I don't believe that's connected. I certainly hope not. I have not seen evidence of extreme violence connected with FLDS, and I hope we never do," he said.

The Fischers say the family of the second victim shares their suspicions. They pleaded today for anyone to step forward who knows anything or who saw anything suspicious on the three nights when the vehicles erupted in flames.

E-mail: hollenhorst@ksl.com

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John Hollenhorst

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