A mother and her 12-year-old daughter are hospitalized while the child’s father faces aggravated battery and domestic violence charges after a May 25 fire led Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies to uncover a case of abuse that may have sparked a suicide pact.
The incident in the 6600 block of Timber Brook Court in the Citrus Park area began to unfold around 3 p.m. Saturday, May 25 when neighbors playing basketball outside their home noticed smoke coming from a nearby garage. As they ran over to the house, the garage door closed, said Debbie Carter, sheriff’s office spokeswoman, in an email to media.
The neighbors managed to get inside the garage and pulled Nancy Lowe, 52, and her 12-year-old daughter to safety. They also rescued two dogs from the house.
Lowe and her daughter were taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and burns, Carter said. While at the hospital, investigators discovered Lowe had been battered Thursday night by her ex-husband.
Deputies say James Clark, 45, went to Lowe’s home Thursday and hit her several times with his hands and a lamp.
After learning this, deputies obtained a search warrant and returned to Lowe’s home where they uncovered a suicide pact between the mother and her daughter, Carter said.
“Investigators located several suicide notes” inside the home, Carter said. “It was also learned that earlier in the day, the daughter had gone to a neighbor and borrowed gasoline.”
While the fire remains under investigation, Clark of Port Richey has been charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence. Lowe and her daughter remain in medical care, Carter said.
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