SAN ANTONIO – BREAKING NEWS UPDATE:
The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday released the names of a family found dead in the garage of their Stone Oak home.
The victims were identified as:
Jared Esquibel Harless, 38
Sheryll Ann Harless, 36
Esteban Lorenzo Harless, 4
Penelope Arcadia Harless, 3
Avielle Magdalena Harless, 1
Apollo Harless, 11 months
The ME’s Office did not release the cause and manner of death.
Officials with US Army South have identified a man who was found dead along with his family in the garage of their Stone Oak home.
Staff Sgt. Jared Esquibel Harless, 38, worked as a 35Q cryptologic cyberspace intelligence collector/analyst, according to information released from the military.
He joined the army in 2010, had one deployment in 2011 to Iraq, and had received multiple awards and decorations including the Army Commendation Award with one oak leaf; the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaves; Army Good Conduct Medal, third award; National Defense Service Medal; Iraqi Campaign Medal with one campaign star; Global War on Terror Service Medal; Army Service Ribbon; and Overseas Service Ribbon, Army officials said.
Harless, his wife, four children and the family’s pets were found dead Thursday inside a vehicle in a garage at a home in the 100 block of Red Willow.
The other family members have not yet been publicly identified.
Here’s what we know from information given by San Antonio Police Chief William McManus at the scene.
‘Heavy, noxious fumes,' cryptic note were at the house
Officers were first dispatched to the home around 10:30 a.m. Thursday for a welfare check.
When officers arrived, they entered the home and smelled “heavy, noxious fumes” coming from inside the residence and immediately backed out. Emergency medical services were called to clear the officers because “we didn’t know what the smell was first off,” McManus said.
The fumes were later identified as carbon monoxide, and all officers were cleared by EMS.
A cryptic note with military jargon was found on the doorway. After interpretation, officers found the note said there were “bodies or people inside of the home, animals were in the freezer, and do not enter,” McManus said.
McManus says it doesn’t appear to be an accident
McManus said robots were deployed, as officers believed the home was “rigged” or “booby-trapped” with explosives.
After they found no evidence of explosives, police entered the garage in the evening and found the family in the back of a small SUV.
The husband and wife were both in their 30s and their four children ranged from 11 months old to 4 years old, police said. Two cats were also found inside of a basket in the vehicle’s front seat.
“I don’t have any further information or explanation on what caused it,” he said.
McManus said evidence suggests that the six deaths were not an accident and appear to be a suicide through carbon monoxide poisoning.
‘There are no words to describe’ scene
It is unclear how long the family had been dead before they were discovered.
“It’s the whole picture. it’s the adults, the children, the pets... There are no words to describe that."
McManus said it’s likely the deaths occurred between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The man did check into work on Wednesday.
Not much known about family from neighbors
Neighbors said they hardly saw the family, according to McManus.
The family moved into the house in January. McManus said he does not know where they moved from.
Red Willow is located in The Heights at Stone Oak, a gated community.
McManus said police had only been to the area once in the past, and it was for kids playing in the street. He didn’t specify if those kids were with the family.
In the late afternoon, residents on the North Side were sent an emergency alert to stay clear of the area because of a possible chemical release.
Joe Arrington, public information officer for the San Antonio Fire Department, said the note was intended for 25 streets but it was sent out to a “much broader area."
He said it was a technical error and they’re investigating it.
SAPD, the FBI, the SAFD and the SAFD HAZMAT team were on scene because of the hazard.
Below is video of residents evacuating the area: