TAMPA, Fla. - A mother and 12-year-old daughter who were rescued from a house fire in the Citrus Park area of Tampa Saturday afternoon had made a suicide pact following domestic violence, Hillsborough County Sheriff's spokesperson Debbie Carter said Sunday.
Detectives said the mother had been beaten by her ex-husband, James Clark, Thursday night with his hands and a lamp.
On Saturday, firefighters were called to the home on Timber Brooke Court after a group of children playing basketball noticed smoke coming from the garage; neighbors were able to get into the house and pull the mother and daughter from the home before firefighters' arrival.
The mother and daughter were transported to Tampa General Hospital for treatment of minor burns and smoke inhalation. Two dogs were also rescued from the home.
After speaking with the victims, investigators obtained a search warrant and found that the mother, Nancy Lowe, 52, and her daughter, had made a suicide pact, with several suicide notes found inside the home.
Investigators also learned the daughter borrowed gasoline from a neighbor earlier in the day.
Lowe and her daughter were subsequently Baker Acted, which allows for involuntary mental examinations.
Clark was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and domestic violence. He has a history of domestic violence charges dating back to 1996.