Posted: November 27, 2013 - 4:20am
LEVITTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A pregnant woman and her 4-year-old daughter who both died Monday had been stabbed before a suspected arson fire at their suburban Philadelphia apartment complex, authorities said.
Firefighters found 22-year-old Ebony Talley and her daughter R'Mani Rankins after responding to the 3:40 p.m. Monday fire at the Avalon Court apartment in Levittown, Bucks County officials said.
Officials said the mother, who was seven months pregnant, had been stabbed multiple times and died at the scene. They said the toddler, who was stabbed at least once, was alive when she was taken from the building but later died at St. Mary Medical Center.
It's not yet known what caused their deaths, but the fire was apparently set "to conceal a crime," District Attorney David Heckler said Monday night.
"She didn't deserve this, and her daughter didn't deserve this," Dani Hodges, a cousin of Talley's, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "She was a good person. She took care of her daughter."
Police and fire officials said the fire, which displaced six other people, was suspicious but released no other details.
"It's very, very sad," said Marquis Johnson, a friend of Talley's. "She was a sweet person."