LANSINGBURGH, N.Y. – Troy Police are investigating a Lansingburgh fire as a double homicide after a 19-year-old woman and her unborn child were found dead.
Fire crews responded to a call for a fire on 5th Avenue just before midnight on April 3. Troy Fire Chief Tom Garrett confirmed the death saying crews located the body after responding to reports of someone trapped upstairs.
Family members identified the woman as Vanessa Milligan. She was pregnant at the time.
Troy Police Captain John Cooney said Friday police ruled the fire was intentional, and the case is being investigated as a double homicide. Cooney said the site of the fire is where any and all crimes took place.
“This isn’t an accident,” he said. “This isn’t self-inflicted by the victim. This is homicide.”
Police hope the public can help them catch whoever is responsible.
“We are letting the people know that another human being is responsible for the deaths of Vanessa and her child,” Cooney said. “[The fire] was started by another person with the intent of harming our victim.”
Cooney would not say if Milligan was killed prior to the fire nor how the fire was set. But he did say whoever is responsible went out of their way.
“[The suspect] went out of his way to do it with the use of some type of combustible material or some type of incendiary device,” he said. “Definitely related to an event along the lines of arson.”
The outpouring of support from the community has grown since the fire.
“We’re looking for the community to be enraged,” Cooney said. “We’re looking for the community to say ‘I wasn’t going to make that call, but after hearing what I heard today, I’m going to let the police know what I heard or what I know or what I saw.’”
Police set up a check point outside Milligan’s home Thursday night around the same time the fire started in the hope of talking with someone who might have seen something.
“Someone who went through the same time last week would have some information to share with us in that regard,” Cooney said.
Cooney’s hopeful the nature of the crime will lead someone to contact them with information to bring them to justice.
“Two people died here,” he said. “This is a double homicide. Someone irresponsibly killed two human beings.”
More testing needs to be completed by the medical examiner before the cause of death can be released.
Police informed Milligan’s family of their findings Friday. Cooney said they were emotionally distraught, but now they want justice more than ever.