LARGO, Fla. (FOX 13) - Law enforcement officials now believe a woman stabbed her roommate before setting their mobile home on fire. Both women's bodies were discovered after the fire was put out.
Detectives with the Largo Police Department are calling it a murder-suicide.
Neighbors rushed out of their homes in Avalon Mobile Home Park when he saw the flames February 8. They wanted to help, but the fire was already out of control.
Inside were 52-year-old Diana Marie Morrocco and 50-year-old Carol Ann Benton.
That morning, investigators called the house fire “suspicious.” Now they believe Morrocco fatally stabbed Benton, then attempted to harm herself. They said she then set fire to the bedroom. She died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Investigators say there was a makeshift barricade behind one entry door and a deadbolt locking a separate entry door, which prevented neighbors from getting inside.
Detectives said family members told them that Morrocco had a history of mental health issues and had once been taken into custody under Florida's Baker Act.
John Bates lives next door and rushed to help but says the flames were too intense.
“I felt helpless,” Bates said. “I’m shocked at the result of what happened.”
Bates is a retired police officer and said he was aware of Morrocco’s mental health problems. He would even drive her to the doctor at times.
“I didn’t feel as if there was any danger,” Bates said. “I couldn’t say a bad word about her.”
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.