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Investigators: Mother Killed Two Young Children and Herself

November 8, 1995

PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. (AP) _ A mother who died in a car fire last month along with her two young children set the blaze by dousing the car’s interior with gasoline, investigators said.

Susan M. Kercher’s psychological state and statements she made indicated ``she was capable of intentionally igniting the blaze,″ the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department said.

The investigation showed Kercher mistakenly believed she was dying of cancer, Sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Galbraith said. Her doctor and family members wanted her to get in-patient care for her mental troubles, he said.

A caretaker at Waubedonia Park near Fredonia in Ozaukee County called authorities about 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 10 after spotting the burning car.

Investigators found the remains of Kercher, 36, her daughter, Melissa, 3, and her son, Daniel, 5 months, inside. The three had left their home in the town of Lisbon, about 20 miles northwest of Milwaukee, the night before.

The sheriff’s report said remnants of a plastic gasoline can were found on the floor near the front passenger seat. The three victims were alive when the fire started and died of smoke inhalation.

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