RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - What started off as a deadly house fire is now turning into a double homicide investigation in Russell County.
Authorities are making the announcement during a Wednesday morning press conference.
“Both of our bodies died from gunshot wounds, and not a fire. Both of our bodies had no smoke inhalation in their lungs, and none in the trachea,” spoke Russell County Sheriff, Heath Taylor.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says this case took an unexpected turn Tuesday night when an initial autopsy report revealed the couple died from gunshot wounds unrelated to the fire.
Authorities are also releasing the identities of the victims as 65-year-old William Perry and his partner, 50-year-old Deborah Peay.
Investigators say they are now trying to figure out if the deadly shooting was random or targeted.
With no suspicious history or known enemies, their only clue is a missing silver 2001 Honda Accord that belonged to Peay.
The missing car, with tag number 57DB175, could be key in the investigation.
However, Sheriff Taylor says the motive is unclear.
“Maybe there’s something they had in the house we are not aware of. the concern is that it was burned completely. The exterior walls are standing because they were cinder block. had they not been cinder block, they would be down," spoke Taylor.
Investigators say they are currently following a couple of different leads, pointing towards two potential suspects.
They hope to have more information and firmer leads in the next couple of days.
“We have a great history here in Russell County. Not having these type of cases having very often, When they do, we work our tails off just to solve them,” said Taylor.