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Man Burns Van, Killing Daughter

November 24, 1998

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ A man allegedly doused his minivan with a flammable substance and set it on fire with his 2-year-old daughter inside, killing the girl and critically burning himself.

Michael James Passaro, 36, set the blaze Monday outside his estranged wife’s home, investigators said.

Investigators smelled gasoline but needed lab tests to confirm what was used to set the fire, county police spokeswoman Cheryl Henry said.

Passaro will be charged with murder and arson if he recovers, Horry County Fire Chief Hampton Shuping Jr. said.

Neighbors put the fire out with a blanket. Passaro’s daughter, Margaret Ann, was in the back seat.

Passaro and his wife, Karen, had split in June. Mrs. Passaro had primary custody of their daughter, and he had visitation rights.

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