Man charged in deaths of mother, daughter found at fire scene

Charges have been filed in the deaths of a mother and daughter who were slain before their East Chatham neighborhood home was set on fire this week, according to a law enforcement source.

Thadeus Ridley, 25, was charged with murder and arson and a judge today denied bond for Ridley, of the 2300 block of East 70th Street.

Police are holding a press conference at 2:30 p.m.

On Wednesday afternoon Curtria Duncan, 24, and her mother Cherie Adams, 43, were found stabbed in the bathroom of their apartment in the East Chatham neighborhood as firefighters put out a suspicious blaze.

Duncan was lying inside a bathtub and Adams was lying on the floor nearby in their apartment in the 8100 block of South Maryland Avenue, officials said.

On hearing the news about the charges from a Tribune reporter, Duncan's sister, Rochelle Pinex, 28, of Harvey, exclaimed: "Oh my God."

"I'm still going through what I'm going through," said Pinex of her grief. "But this gives me a little relief knowing that they have somebody in custody."

"I just want justice to be served for my mother and my sister."

Pinex was reached by telephone as she was making funeral arrangements for her sister and stepmother.

Pinex said the family was planning to have the services on Feb. 28, her stepmother's birthday.

Duncan died from "homicidal asphyxia" with multiple sharp force injuries a contributing factor, and Adams died from multiple sharp force and blunt force injuries, the Cook County medical examiner's office determined following autopsies. Both deaths were ruled homicides.

The apartment may have been set on fire to conceal the homicides, sources said. A large kitchen knife was found in the bathroom.

Duncan had gone back to school to become a medical technician. Adams doted on her grandchildren.

"It hurts so bad," said Pinex earlier his week. "Who could have done this and what for?"

Duncan had a 3-year-old son, Michael, but the boy was not home because he was visiting his father, Pinex said.

She said Duncan was studying to become a medical technician at Kennedy-King College, where she'd met a man who works at the school.

Pinex said Adams was her stepmother and had eight grandchildren who called her "Nana."

"She was changing her life around," Pinex said of Adams. "She was going to church three times a week and trying to spend more time with her grandchildren."

She described her sister and stepmother as people who "stayed to themselves" mostly. "They don’t bother anybody," she said, sobbing.

Pinex said the women lived at the Maryland address for just under a year and rarely socialized, except for going to church and classes. "She's a quiet girl," Pinex said of her sister.

Pinex, who has three children, said her 8-year-old daughter was looking forward to seeing Adams. "My kids, they loved their Nana to death," she said. Her daughter was "begging" to go there for a weekend visit.

"She tugs at her (Adams') heart and made her feel good," Pinex said. "My daughter was her heart."

"I'm trying to be strong,' Pinex said. "I can't believe this tragedy."

Naomi Nix contributed.

Twitter: @RosemarySobol1

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