Avila murder-suicide leak sparks investigation of Hillsborough F - WFLA News Channel 8

Avila murder-suicide leak sparks investigation of Hillsborough Fire Rescue

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue confirms it is investigating itself over information leaks in the Avila mansion murder-suicide.

Fire Rescue, as well as the Sheriff's Office, wants to know how detailed information about the gruesome murder scene in Avila where the Campbell family was discovered, got onto the web before investigators got into the house.

As the fire in Avila burned, so did detectives' frustration.

8 On Your Side has learned that hours before they were allowed inside the Avila mansion, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office detectives read on the New York Post's web page and other internet sites about bodies, bullet holes, and gas cans. Detectives feared the release of such pertinent information might prove disastrous to their crime solving efforts.

"We didn't even know what crime we had, other than there were three bodies inside," Chief Deputy Jose Docobo said.

According to Docobo, social media reporter Meredyth Censullo filled Twitter with plenty of detail.

By 9:58 a.m. she tweeted, "3 dead, 4th suspected. Reportedly gunshots to head."

Two minutes later she tweeted, "...bodies found in burning mansion in Avila had heavy duty fireworks wrapped around their heads."

"The types of details that were being released are extremely pertinent to conducting a homicide investigation," Docobo stated.

Detectives were not allowed into the building until 3 o'clock that afternoon.

At 10:17 in the morning Censullo tweeted "...mortars were exploding."

At 10:23 a.m., "Dead in #Avila fire at home owned by James Blake include a man, woman in bed, teen."

At 11:22 a.m., "#Avila: Source-several gas cans found on second floor of home where bodies found this morning."

"Many, if not all, of the details that were released were in fact accurate," Docobo observed.

Information that can give a bad guy a heads-up. The question is how did that information get out before detectives had a chance to go in?

"It comes from individuals who have access to it. It's people at the scene, who have direct access, visual access," Docobo said.

Docobo informed Fire Rescue personnel at the scene that releasing crime scene information may make it more difficult if not impossible to find a killer.

"If you're out there irresponsibly and interfering with an active criminal investigation there might very well be appropriate charges," he said.

According to district chief Frank Fernandez, HCFR is conducting an internal investigation.

"There were a number of folks that were out there. There were Fire Rescue personnel. There were law enforcement and there were civilians that were extremely close to the actual incident scene that could have overheard anything, not to mention all of our radios, if anything was said over the radios," Fernandez said.

Fernandez states he isn't sure who provided crime scene information, but he is sure that it is a serious breach.

"My office is conducting the investigation and will be looking to the sheriff's department for some assistance as well," Fernandez said.

When the investigation is complete, Fernandez promises HCFR will make public its findings.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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  • Avila murder-suicide leak sparks investigation of Hillsborough Fire RescueMore>>

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    AVILA MURDER MANSION - RELATED CONTENTMay 8, 2014: Resident of ignited Avila home recently purchased fireworksMay 8, 2014: Fla detectives not looking for suspects in Avila fatal fireMay 7, 2014: 911 calls from Avila mansion fireMay 7, 2014: 4 dead in burned Avila mansion, accerlant found in home
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