Triple murder-suicide suspected in Malabar house fire, deputies say

Remains of child, woman found dead inside charred home

MALABAR, Fla. – Deputies have found the remains of a child, believed to be a missing boy, in a Malabar home that was destroyed by a suspected arson fire, according to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

Sebastian Meachum, 9, was reported missing Sunday. He was last seen at a home on Atz Boulevard, which caught fire at 10:25 a.m. Sunday. The home was rendered a total loss. 

Sebastian's mother, Chrissy Hughes, 39, her husband, Tony Hughes, 39, and a relative who was visiting from out of state were believed to be inside the home when it caught on fire. 

Deputies said Monday afternoon that a child had been found dead inside the home. The remains had not yet been positively identified; but they are believed to be those of Sebastian.

A woman was also found dead inside the home. Her identity has not been released, but deputies said the body had signs of trauma indicating that she was likely killed before the fire started.

Deputies said the body of another woman was later found in the debris of the home.The remains had not yet been positively identified, however, deputies said Chrissy Hughes' sister, 39-year-old Linda Woods, who was visiting from Arkansas, was believed to have been the fourth person inside the home during the fire. Deputies said signs of trauma to the woman's body indicated that she had been killed prior to the fire.

Brevard County Sheriff's Office public information officer Tod Goodyear said they believe Tony Hughes might have killed all three people at the residence, set the home on fire, then killed himself.

The search inside the home is continuing and could take several days.

A truck and a boat trailer registered to the Hughes' were both found at Christenson's Landing around noon Sunday. The truck was running and the trailer was in the water, but the boat was missing at the time.

The missing 18-foot "Grady White" motorboat was found seven miles offshore Sebastian Inlet, unoccupied, driving in circles. Blood was found in the boat, deputies said. The Coast Guard is searching the area where the boat was found, and deputies plan to process the vessel.

Witnesses told deputies that there have been domestic issues between Tony and Chrissy Hughes, although there were no calls to the residence related to domestic incidents, nor any domestic injunctions in place.

An investigation is underway. Anyone with information in reference to this investigation is asked to call Agent Wendy Wheeler, of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit, at 321-633-8413.

A family member started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. As the only local relative, Sebastian’s older sister is planning the funeral services for three family members, according to the page.

"As a community, let's rally around her and help her raise enough money to fly both her grandparents in from Arkansas and give her family proper memorials," Sheri Blair Lamb said on the GoFundMe page.

Sebastian's school Pineapple Cove Academy issued a statement Tuesday after learning of his death.

"Sebastian was a loved member of our Pineapple Cove family since he was a toddler," school principal Kelly Gunter said. "We are saddened and deeply hurt by the news and details of his passing. We will pull together to help support our students, parents and staff during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with our entire community as we mourn this sweet boy."

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