State Police: Man, woman beaten to death with hammer; person believed to be responsible then set self on fire

BERKS COUNTY, Pa. — Three people died over the weekend in Berks County in what State Police are calling a murder-suicide.

Fire crews were called to a home in the 900 block of Chestnut Street, Union Township Saturday for a garage fire. Upon arrival, they extinguished the fire and located three deceased individuals on the property.

Further investigation revealed that two victims, 63-year-old Joanne Deluca and 60-year-old Ira Reed, were beaten to death with a hammer inside the home, according to State Police.

State Police believe the person responsible then went into a detached garage nearby and set themself on fire. That person’s cause of death was smoke inhalation.

According to State Police, the fire damaged a car and the garage. Estimate damage is between $20,000 and $30,000.

DNA testing is being used to make positive identification of the individual who died in the fire, State Police note.

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