A fire that killed a mother and her 3-year-old son last month has been ruled a murder-suicide.
Kristy Bryan, 39, and her son Tyler died in the Dec. 11 fire. Bryan’s other son, Tyler’s twin, was injured and transported to the burn center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
On Monday, police said Bryan started the fire in the master bedroom of her two-story home on Roles Saddle Drive in the Heritage neighborhood.
A gas can was found at the scene of the fire and investigators determined the blaze was the “result of an intentional spread from an ignitable liquid,” according to a statement from Rolesville police.
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There was no sign of forced entry or a struggle in the home, which made it clear Bryan was the only one who could have set the fire, said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman.
Bryan’s 6-year-old daughter was at school at the time of the fire, and her husband, Derek Bryan, was at work, Freeman said.
A neighbor called 911 to report the fire around 7:50 a.m. When firefighters arrived, they used entry tools to force open the door, according to a search warrant that was previously sealed by a Wake County Superior Court judge.
A neighbor told a police officer who responded to the scene that “she’s in there with her babies,” the search warrant says.
Police seized two cell phones, a mobile tablet device and a laptop, according to search warrants. They also searched a 2009 Toyota Highlander.
Rolesville Police Officer R.D. Holloway, who applied for the search warrants, said the electronic devices would help investigators determine if the fire was planned.
“Individuals that commit crimes of this magnitude usually perform some type of research or other form of planning before the crime is committed,” he wrote in the application for a search warrant.
The warrants did not include details about what investigators discovered from their search of the electronic devices and the car.
Freeman said Bryan and Tyler were found in the master bedroom, and the other boy was in a separate part of the home. Investigators did not find a suicide note, she said.
A cause of death for Kristy and Tyler Bryan will be more clear once investigators receive autopsy reports and results from other tests. The investigation is now closed, Freeman said.
On Dec. 10, the day before the fire, Bryan posted an ad on sittercity.com, a website that connects parents with child-care services. Bryan said she was looking for a part-time nanny for her children three afternoons a week, one evening a week and overnight once every six weeks.
“One of our sons has some minor special needs but is pleasant and gets along well with others,” she wrote in the post.
According to their profiles on the networking site LinkedIn, Derek and Kristy Bryan attended Old Dominion University in Virginia. Derek Bryan is listed as the president of Ingenia Services, a Wake Forest company that provides engineering and management services to the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies. Kristy Bryan is listed as the company’s vice president of communications.
In the statement released Monday, Rolesville police said the family is asking for privacy “during this most difficult time.” The Bryans are related to former Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan.
“It’s just hard to deal with,” Rolesville Mayor Frank Eagles said. “Neighbors are in shock because they knew these people.”