MALABAR, Fla. — Authorities say a Florida man who was thought missing is now a suspect in the deaths of three people whose bodies were recovered after a house fire.

Brevard County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tod Goodyear said Tuesday that Tony Hughes is a suspect in the three deaths after a house fire was set to cover up the slayings Sunday. Chrissy Hughes, her 9-year-old son and her sister, Linda Woods, died of unknown causes. Chrissy and Tony Hughes were married.

Authorities initially thought Hughes may have committed suicide after the couple’s boat was found empty Sunday with blood on it and running in circles about 7 miles (10 kilometers) offshore. Goodyear said the Coast Guard has called off its offshore search for Hughes and now Brevard County is conducting an onshore search.

Author photo
Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.