An Oak Forest man found with his throat slashed, outside his family's burning home Dec. 18 is now conscious and able to communicate, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Martin Rodriguez, 48, suffered a severe throat wound and major burns, and remained in critical condition until two days after the fire His wife, Erica Rodriguez, 40, had been strangled before the fire that ravaged their home.
First responders found Martin on a porch, before finding his wife inside their home on the 15200 block of Central Avenue.
Authorities are investigating the fire as a foul play situation. As of Wednesday, they had not been able to interview Rodriguez, as his condition was too serious.
The couple's three children—Sylvia, 17, Andrew, 15, and Gloria, 6—visited their father for the first time since the fire on Thursday, according to the Tribune report. The children have been staying with their grandfather, Erica's father John Johnson, in central Illinois.
The children were in school at the time of the fire.
Oak Forest Police Chief Greg Anderson said Wednesday that the investigation will continue and authorities will explore every lead. The Illinois State Fire Marshal and South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are investigating as a foul play situation.
“We will continue the investigation and will be relentless until we bring the responsible party to justice," Anderson said. "We are committed to bring all investigative resources together to solve this homicide. The entire family of Erica Rodriguez needs to know who could have committed such an act and who is responsible.”
Anderson added that speculation that the fire is related to two escaped bank robbers is thus far unsubstantiated.
As more details surface, family members continue to grieve their loss.
"Right now our entire family is trying to come to terms with this devastating news and we truly appreciate all the prayers and word of encouragement," said Steve Johnson, a cousin of Erica Rodriguez, on Wednesday.
"Anybody she was around, loved her," Johnson said. "She was one of those upbeat type of people who got along with everybody. Very outgoing."
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