1985 fire deaths in DC now ruled double homicide

- Two fire deaths in the District that were ruled accidental in 1985 have been reclassified as a double homicide, according to officials.

DC police said the fire sparked at a home on Quincy Place, Northwest in the early morning hours of Jan. 11, 1985. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters found 42-year-old Bessie Mae Duncan and 40-year-old Roy Picott in the home.

Duncan was pronounced dead at the scene. Picott was rushed to the hospital where he later died on March 5, 1985.

Duncan’s official cause of death was determined to be asphyxia by smoke inhalation and Picott’s was ruled to be thermal burns with sepsis and lobar pneumonia. Both deaths were ruled accidental at the time.

After additional investigation efforts, DC police said both deaths have been reclassified as homicides. Officials did not provide any information as to the cause of the change.

Anyone with information that could aid detectives in their investigation was urged to call the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 727-9099. Tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $25,000.

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