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Names of victims in Pueblo County arson case released Saturday

Authorities also to reveal causes of death

Names of Rye Fire Victims to be Released Saturday

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. - The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office has scheduled a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Saturday to identify the three people found dead Wednesday inside a burning home near the town of Rye.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 spoke with a cousin of the victims who declined an interview.  The cousin said relatives are busy making funeral arrangements and handling final affairs.

Although the victims haven't been identified yet, several neighbors believe the victims are a married couple and their adult daughter.  According to those neighbors, the daughter recently moved in with her three children who were not home at the time of the fire.

"They were good people," said a neighbors who asked to remain anonymous.  "He was a truck driver and watched my cows sometimes.  They lived there around 20 years or so.  The house was all that remained from a church on the property that caught fire.  It's just a sad story."

On Friday, investigators remained at the scene for a third straight day.  The Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation continue to gather evidence.  Investigators have listed arson as the cause of the fire.

The tragedy shocked the quiet small town as it shut down for the Thanksgiving holiday.  A few neighbors still were unaware of the fire until learning about it Friday.  The area recently has experienced illegal meth lab and illegal marijuana growing operations.

Natalie Roles-Lepley, a Rye businesswoman, said neighbors stand ready to help the victims' relatives recover from the deaths.

"It's talked about," she said.  "Everyone knows.  This is a community that pulls together." 

Most neighbors who spoke with KRDO NewsChannel 13 said they didn't know the victims.

Authorities continue to look for Harry Mapps, 59, considered to be a person of interest in the case.  He lived in the home until last week and may be homeless, authorities said. 

Mapps is described as six feet tall and slim, with red hair and blue eyes.  He's also believed to be driving a blue 2004 Chrysler van with Texas plate "7 FSNK."  Contact authorities if you see Mapps or the van.

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