Arizona Fire Deaths Ruled Arson-Homicide

PHOTO: Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro were found dead in their Paradise Valley, Ariz. home.
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The death of a married couple in their torched home in an upscale Arizona community is being investigated as an arson-homicide after the bodies were found tied to a bedpost in the house's master bedroom.

The motive is unclear and there are no suspects, police said Wednesday of the deaths in the Paradise Valley community in Scottsdale. The bodies were found Monday after police arrived at the still-burning house.

Although the bodies have yet to be officially identified, the family of Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro, the owners of the home, has posted messages on a website in their memory and a statement thanking the public for their sympathy and asking for privacy.

"We are shocked and saddened at the loss of our parents who were so loved by their family and community. We are working with the investigators to help facilitate a thorough investigation to apprehend and bring to justice those who were responsible," a statement posted Wednesday on the website read.

Paradise Valley police said they are waiting for the Medical Examiner's Office to identify the badly burned victims before releasing the names. They are working with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Secret Service on the case.

"This is going to be a prolonged, complex investigation. It's going to take probably quite a bit of time," Paradise Valley Police Chief John Bennett said at a Wednesday news conference.

Police initially responded to the couple's home when a vehicle that was registered to the Shapiros was found burning in an area of Scottsdale far from their home.

A fire was set in the master bedroom where the two bodies were tied up, while another fire was ignited in a second bedroom on the opposite end of the home, Bennett said, referring to the crime as "heinous," according to the Phoenix Arizona News.

Lawrence Shapiro, 79, was a well-known area gastroenterologist who had been a doctor in the Valley for more than 45 years, and co-founded the Health Services Advisory Group, which aimed to improve health care quality for Medicare beneficiaries. Glenna Shapiro, 77, was a Phoenix-area philanthropist and volunteer who, according to Phoenix Arizona News, spent 30 years as executive director at the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona.

The couple started the Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro Family Foundation in 2010 to fund their favorite charities.

The family of the Shapiros was allowed to walk through the remnants of the couple's home Tuesday evening, according to local affiliate ABC-15, in a guided tour with detectives for about an hour.

The deaths are the first murder cases to be handled by Paradise Valley police since 2004.

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