Mother Set NJ Fire Which Killed Herself, Son


By Ryan Hutchins and Seth Augenstein/The Star-Ledger

Scotch Plains (NJ) — A mother involved in a custody battle locked her three-year-old son, the family dog, and herself in a bedroom at her Scotch Plains home and set the room on fire, killing all inside, authorities said Wednesday.

Katherine Halverson, 32, and Jeremy Scott McDonald Jr died in the Tuesday evening fire. A photo of the boy was posted hours earlier on Halverson’s Facebook page. He wore a red and blue striped sweater and a Santa hat.

Halverson started the fire at around 7 p.m., locking herself, the boy and the dog inside the bedroom, then placing rags in front of the door, said Scotch Plains Police Chief Brian Mahoney. She doused the rags with an accelerant then lit a match, he said.

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