Elderly woman, son found dead in house fire may have been targeted, police say

Roger Houck, 59, was bound by his feet and his mother had binding around her head, officials said.
Image: The bodies of an elderly woman and her middle-aged son were found in a burned-out house in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania, following a fire on Jan. 4, 2019.
The bodies of an elderly woman and her middle-aged son were found in a burned-out house in Palmer Township, Pennsylvania, following a fire on Jan. 4, 2019.Jim Friedman / NBC10

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By Minyvonne Burke

Police in Pennsylvania are investigating whether a home was intentionally set on fire last month to cover up the deaths of an elderly woman and her son whose bodies were found in the basement, authorities said Monday.

Roger Houck, 59, and his mother Virginia Houck, 97, were found dead Jan. 4 inside the latter's home in Palmer Township.

Roger was bound at his feet and died as a result of "homicidal violence," officials said. Virginia, who police said was under hospice care and bedridden, had binding around her head. She died from smoke inhalation and burns.

Police said that they believe it was not a random act and that the mother and son may have been targeted.

The blaze did "immense" damage to the house, but investigators were able to find enough evidence to label the fire as suspicious and rule the deaths as homicides, authorities said.

Authorities do not have a motive for the crimes. They have identified a person of interest but did not release information on that person.