Victims in Nelsonia Fire Were Stabbed

Alejandra Gonzalez and her daughter, Sofia Escalante.

By Linda Cicoira — All three victims found in the remains of a fatal fire in Nelsonia earlier this month were stabbed to death before the fire was set.

Wilson L. Escalante-Perez, 24, died from a stab wound to the chest, Donna Price, a spokesperson for the Medical Examiner’s Office, in Norfolk, Va., said Wednesday. The manner of his death is pending. He lived at the house trailer.

Oraliz Alejandra Gonzalez-Miranda, 26, whose body was also removed from the remains of the mobile home, also died from a stab wound to the chest. Her 3-year-old daughter, Daniella Escalante-Gonzales, identified by her grandfather as Sofia Escalante, died from stabs wounds to the chest and abdomen. Both of those deaths were ruled homicide, Price said.

The man who died was the girl’s uncle. Other children who lived at the residence are ages 17, 13, and 7 and were in school when the fire was reported at 10 a.m., Feb. 1, at Johnson Court, to the Eastern Shore 9-1-1 Center.

Other residents of the trailer, the grandfather, Feliciano Ortiz and his wife, Celestina Perez (mother of Wilson Perez), were not at home when the fire was reported. They work at Tyson Foods. Yener Perez, the father of the girl, also lived there.

The residence was destroyed. Officers from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations in Chesapeake are continuing to pursue “numerous leads related to the arson and suspicious deaths,” said Corinne N. Geller, public relations director for the state police. “The Medical Examiner confirmed the three bodies suffered additional injuries inconsistent with a fire.”

Dos Santos Community Services is coordinating assistance to the family. Checks can be sent to Dos Santos Food Pantry, P.O. Box 758, Accomac, VA 23301. Donors should write Ortiz-Perez on the check in the memo field.

“They are trying to figure out where they are going to live,” said Angelica Garcia, the agency’s director. “They are completely displaced,” she said. The family also needs money for the unexpected funeral expenses.

The names of the two adults were released by the state police Sunday — 16 days after the suspected arson/ homicide was committed.

Ortiz said the family moved to Virginia in 1997 from Guatemala. He describes a quiet family that kept to itself. They did not come “to steal or to kill,” he said. “We just came to struggle and work” for a better life.

Anyone with information concerning the fire, or the decedents, is asked to call the state police at 757-424-6800, or #77 on a cell phone, or by email [email protected]

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