Mother, three children found dead in Chatham home

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At least two people were found dead in a home late Saturday in the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side. | Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times Media

A shocking and disturbing discovery as police find the bodies of a mother and her three sons.  Their bodies were found inside a home in the Chatham neighborhood Saturday night.

Chicago police officials will only confirm that they are working on a death investigation at the home at 83rd and Drexel, but family tell us they've lost a mother and her three sons.

The boys were 11, 9 and 5 years old.  The oldest, Andrew, was into sports, 9-year-old Cameron had hopes of being an astronaut. And the youngest, Cantrell, was excited to be going to kindergarten this fall.  Now, they and their 27-year-old mother are gone.

"They know that she did not deserve this and she did not go down without a fight," said April Bussell who says the mother, Latoya Jackson, was more like a sister than a friend to her.  She also says that this was no accident.

Police found the four bodies after a neighbor reported smelling a strong odor.  A fire department official says there is evidence of a fire inside the home, but it was contained.

Bussell says the family had only been living here for about 6 months.

“She took care of them.  She was so happy to move to this house with these kids," said Bussell.

Sunday evening a small crowd gathered to remember the family including Leon Ervin, biological grandfather to the oldest child Andrew, but he says he treated all three boys like they were his.

“I had so many plans for us to do.  Matter of fact I was just in the process of getting tickets for us to go to the White Sox game because I wanted to spend time with them - do a lot of things with them,” said Ervin.  “I am not a hateful person, but I hope like hell that they catch this person.”

A joint death investigation was being conducted by several agencies, including the Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Unit, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and the Chicago Fire Department’s Office of Fire Investigation, said Special Agent Thomas Ahern, spokesman for the ATF.

Ahern said the nature of the scene — the number of dead bodies and evidence of fire — is requiring the multi-agency response.

“It was a hazardous situation because of the condition of the bodies,” Ahern said, who could not comment on how the bodies were found.

He added that the investigation may take a while because it’s not “a basic fire scene.”

Sun-Times Media Wire and FOX 32's Anita Padilla. contributed to this story.