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A married couple found dead inside a burning northwest Atlanta home were strangled, police said at a press conference.

“The two deaths in the house fire this morning on Harvel Drive have been ruled a homicide by (the Medical Examiner’s) office,” Officer Stephanie Brown said in an emailed statement. “APD Homicide will now take lead in investigation.”

The article goes on to state the following:

Officials were dispatched to the scene in the 2400 block of Harvel Drive just before 4 a.m. Tuesday. They arrived within four minutes, not knowing if anyone was still inside, Atlanta fire Chief Randall Slaughter told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Firefighters put out the blaze and discovered the man, 67, in the hallway and the woman, 65, in the bedroom, according to Slaughter. Both were badly burned.

“They were covered in heavy debris,” he said. “So it took us awhile to uncover the victims.”

Roughly 12 hours later, it was discovered they were strangled.

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