MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Police believe a 51-year-old man stabbed his wife and their four young children and set fire to their house on Monday, killing all five victims. The man was hospitalized as authorities tried to piece together the frantic scene.
Neighbors described watching firefighters using CPR to try to revive the family members, including children, as they lay on the lawn in front of their home.
Rescuers quickly realized it wasn't just smoke inhalation they were dealing with and rushed the 30-year-old mother and the children — ages 2, 5, 6 and 7 — to the hospital.
But all five died. The father was also taken to the hospital, where he was being detained. Police believe he killed his family, but did not immediately charge him.
"That is the suspicion right now — the fellow we have up at the hospital under guard is responsible," said Police Chief Tim George.
Investigators were getting a search warrant before going back into the house to gather evidence, George said.
The house is a small, plain one-story structure in a working class neighborhood of older homes several blocks from downtown in this city of about 75,000 in Southern Oregon's timber country.
George said the five dead had suffered stab wounds and smoke inhalation.
The father was identified as Jordan Adam Criado, 51, and his wife as Tabasha Paige-Criado, 30. The names of the children, three boys aged 7, 6 and 5, and a 2-year-old daughter, were not immediately released.
Neighbors said they thought Criado was a single dad, devoted to his children, and worked as a "shade-tree mechanic," fixing cars out of his home. A maroon minivan sat in the driveway with a broken transmission. Criado spoke with an accent and had moved up from California about a year ago.
His wife joined him about two weeks ago, and they could be heard arguing loudly late at night.
"He just bluntly told her, 'Hey, you need to calm down, the kids are asleep,'" said Chris Bennett, 23, an Oregon National Guard infantryman who lives three doors down.
"It was always her yelling," said Bennett's fiance, Shilo Croswell, 22. "Anytime we saw him it was just him and the kids. Then we saw this woman. She kept asking him who we were, and he was not responding because he was talking to us."
Bennett said last year his car broke down in front of Criado's house, and Criado advised him to check the fuses. One was burnt out and Criado gave him a replacement and wouldn't take any money for it.
Bennett said the 7-year-old boy was a good student, and once said he hoped to be a doctor.
Earlier in the morning of the fire, a man at the house called in a missing person report for the mother. Police said she returned unharmed after being located a few blocks away at an intersection where a Catholic church is located.
At around 9 a.m., Calvin Kennedy said he and other neighbors saw smoke coming out of the house and contacted police and firefighters.
They pulled the family from the home and worked on the lawn to try to save them.
"When I first saw it, all I could do was cry," Jennifer Backes told the Medford Mail Tribune as she watched the rescue efforts.
"Never saw any trouble," Kennedy said. "It's just sad."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.