NEW YORK – New York State Police are searching for clues in the mysterious and savage murder of three young brothers who were beaten and stabbed to death before their parents were shot execution-style and their suburban Dutchess County home was torched in an attempt to cover up the brutal crime.
Manuel "Antonio" Morey, 13, and his brothers, Adam, 10, and Ryan, 6, died of multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma before their parents were shot to death Friday in their home in the Town of Fishkill, state police confirmed. Their bodies were found by firefighters responding to an early morning fire at the home.
Investigators, meanwhile, are searching area hospitals for possible reports of “struggle wounds" as a result of the killings, a state police spokesman told the Poughkeepsie Journal newspaper.
FOX 5 News in New York, citing sources close to the investigation, reported Monday that the children were tortured as the killer or killers — possibly part of an organized-crime ring — demanded money, but State Police Troop K spokesman Sgt. Robert Hogan disputed the report, saying there was no information to substantiate either the torture or organized crime claims in the TV report.
“We’re checking regional hospitals for anyone who might have shown up with burns or lacerations, or in particular, cuts to their hands,” Hogan told the Journal. “If anybody knows anyone who all of a sudden has bandaged up hands, cuts or burns, we’d like to know about it.”
Autopsies confirmed Manuel "Tony" Morey, 33, died of a gunshot wound to the neck, while his wife, Tina, 30, died of gunshot wounds to the chest and head.
Their children were killed in a similarly brutal manner: two, Adam and Manuel, were stabbed multiple times, while the youngest child, Ryan, died of blunt trauma to the head, the Dutchess County medical examiner reported.
Hogan added that investigators are talking to a number of people in an effort to obtain information on the Morey family. The family had moved into their rented two-story house a year ago next month.
Forensics investigators also examined a burned-out Kia car belonging to Tony Morey that was found nearby when firefighters arrived.
"The way they did what they did by shooting and stabbing just doesn't happen," Hogan said. "The way the car was left down a side road and set on fire is usually not part of a random crime."
Tina Morey's uncle on Monday mourned his niece as a woman who "had a heart of gold" and said relatives are trying to understand why five lives were wiped out.
"That is what we don't understand," he said. "It was a horrible, horrible way to die, but why? There are no answers."
He said his sister, who has now lost her only daughter and grandkids, was struggling to cope with her grief.
"One minute she's fine, and then the next . . . "
The uncle, who asked his name not be used, said he believed Tony "got somebody mad."
"That's what scares the whole family," he said, noting that he and other relatives now fear for their safety.
Family friend Chris Murphy said Tony Morey had been a fence installer, and that his mother's death in the summer of 2005 left him depressed. Morey battled cocaine addiction, Murphy said.
"His mother was all he really had," he said. "After she passed away, he just got a little down."
He left his job and wanted to go into business for himself, but was struggling with money, Murphy said.
The slayings sent shock waves through the rural community, where prosecutors said the apparent homicides could be the worst the county has ever seen.
The New York Post contributed to this report.