A 7-year-old boy who was home alone late Sunday at his southwest Oklahoma City home died in a fire that police think was caused by burglars.
Adrian Roberto Avalos was the only person found in the house at 2535 SW 51 when firefighters were called about 11:50 p.m. He was taken to a hospital where he died. Police are investigating the death as a homicide.
Police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said investigators discovered someone broke into the house and took several items before the fire gutted the house. He could not say whether burglars set the fire intentionally or by accident or whether they knew someone was home.
Knight said the medical examiner would determine the cause of Adrian's death, but investigators think he died as a result of the fire. Police have made no arrests in the case and have not identified any suspects.
Fire officials said they are investigating what caused the blaze.
Police also are looking into why the boy was home alone, Knight said.
Adrian lived at the home with his mother and her boyfriend, who were at a bar until 2 a.m., neighbors said. Beer cans littered the yard Monday alongside a makeshift memorial with teddy bears, flowers and a religious candle.
Neighbor Kristin Fitzgerald said she didn't know the adults well, but her 4-year-old son was friends with Adrian and always said “hi” to him when he got home from school.
“I had to explain to him today that his friend was in heaven,” Fitzgerald said. “He doesn't understand. It's ridiculous that it happened and that the parents weren't there.”
Fitzgerald has a security camera on her front porch that was aimed at Adrian's home, but it does not work.
“I wish it did,” she said. “It might have picked up something. Anything. It could have been me. It could have been anyone.”
Adrian was in the first grade at Coolidge Elementary, said Kathleen Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The news was heartbreaking for students, teachers and administrators throughout the district. Counselors were on campus Monday to help students and staff, she said.
Knight said an air-conditioner was stolen from the home within the past year, but there have been no other recent police calls to that address. A neighbor said Adrian's family was new to the neighborhood.
Staff Writer Robert Medley