HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – As authorities questioned the parents of two young children found stabbed to death in their home, investigators in a nearby community were taking another look Thursday at a fire that had killed the children's infant sister five years earlier.
The children's mother was home Wednesday night when 9-year-old Christian Vasilev (search) and his 3-year-old sister Gracie were attacked, Hoffman Estates (search) Police Lt. Rich Russo said. He said their father arrived later and called 911.
"We are not looking for anybody else at this point in time," Russo said as authorities questioned Nikolai Vasilev (search), 36, and Tonya Vasilev, 34, on Thursday.
No charges had been filed Thursday afternoon, but Russo said one person had been taken into custody. He would not say who or provide further details.
The stabbings came shortly before the five-year anniversary of a house fire that killed the couple's 3-month-old daughter Gabrielle. The cause of the fire remains undetermined, but foul play was never suspected, said Elk Grove Village Police Deputy Chief Larry Hammar. One potential cause considered then was that the clothes dryer malfunctioned.
Tonya Vasilev had left her daughter in an infant carrier in the laundry room of the home while she went to check on another of her children and noticed smoke coming from the window a short time later, according to Elk Grove Village police.
She ran back into the home, but was forced out by a neighbor trying to save her, Hammar said. He said when officers arrived, they tried to get in the house, but were turned back by the smoke and intense heat.
"She ran right in after they left and two of our guys had to run back in after her," he said.
Neither parent was ever consider a suspect in that fire. But Hammar said Thursday that the stabbing deaths had prompted the Elk Grove Village department to investigate the fire again.
It was around 9:20 p.m. Wednesday when Hoffman Estates police were called to the Vasilevs' home, a white two-story house on a cul de sac about 30 miles west of Chicago. Russo would not discuss details of what they found when they arrived but said both children had been stabbed to death. He said police recovered several knives in the home believed to be the murder weapons.
At Schaumburg Christian School, where Christian was in third grade, counselors were available to talk with students Thursday. Principal Randy Thaxton said the school planned to notify parents so they could help their children cope rather than announce the tragedy to the boy's classmates.