Autopsy reports on an Independence woman and her parents, found dead in a burning home Tuesday night, shed new light on the case. The coroner says Jessica Padilla, 22, and her mother, Lori Padilla, 45, were both shot multiple times. Seaward Padilla, 43, then fired shots outside the home, before shooting himself.
Local 12 has also learned that gasoline was used to start the fire inside the home.
Jessica Padilla was four to five months pregnant with her second child, and was supposed to find out the sex of her baby soon. Brad Demoret was the father. Local 12 asked him if Jessica's latest pregnancy could have set her father off.
"I pray, I pray that he didn't do this because of that," said Demoret. "That's no reason, that's no reason."
A couple who provided a home for Jessica Padilla for months are overwhelmed with emotion.
"This is a huge loss," said Angie Seimer. "I feel I lost a daughter and I feel I lost a grandchild."
John and Angie Seimer were Jessica's "second family." The couple provided the 22-year-old and her daughter a home away from their troubled home.
"She had problems with her father," said John Seimer. "Domestic problems, not sure what all was involved. She had problems at home needed to get out, she was scared to be there."According to court documents, Lori and Seaward Padilla were in the midst of a divorce and their home was in foreclosure. A former co-worker says Seaward Padilla appeared to have a "mental breakdown" of sorts over the past two years.
In a press conference Wednesday morning, officers revealed a string of bizarre circumstances surrounding the deaths. Police say they received a 911 call from inside the home, reporting the fire on Freedom Trail in Independence, at around 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.
Caller: "I got a fire at 1866 Freedom Trail."
Dispatcher: "Okay, what's on fire?"
Caller: "Hurry up, the basement's on fire."
Dispatcher: "Okay, get everybody out of the house, okay?"
Police and fire crews were both called to the scene. When they arrived, someone inside the home started shooting at emergency personnel. The first responders were not hurt.
Jessica Padilla's two-year-old daughter, Jaycee, was found wandering alone in the front yard.
Once police got the little girl to safety and the gunfire subsided, they moved into the home.
Inside, they found the bodies. Jessica, Lori and Seaward Padilla had been shot. Officials are not yet sure whether the Padillas died from the gunshot wounds or in the fire.
Investigators spent much of Wednesday taking photos and collecting evidence. They did find a handgun inside the home.
Seaward Padilla worked for the school district from August 2003 to June 2007 as a substitute bus driver and monitor.
Jessica Padilla was a 2005 graduate of Simon Kenton High School. Co-workers say she was thrilled about her life and had also just started nursing school.
"I was shocked something like this could happen," said Tia Eibeck. "Somebody I worked with and know and used to text with all the time, you know?"
In a statement released around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Kenton County School District said, "The thoughts and prayers of the entire Kenton County School District Learning Community go out to the family. All information on this situation will be coming from police authorities. The District Crisis Team has been put on alert to assist if requested by the administrators at Simon Kenton High School."
Court documents obtained by Local 12 show Seaward and Lori were divorcing and their home on Freedom Trail was in foreclosure at the time their divorce papers were filed, back in December of 2007.
One of Seaward Padilla's former co-workers told Local 12 reporter Joe Webb that Seaward acted erratically and took things out of the home from time to time once he and Lori separated. He also said Seaward Padilla's behavior changed dramatically in the last two years, and that he was angry about the birth of Jessica's daughter.
Police say they have been called to that home before for domestic disputes.
Jessica Padilla's daughter is now staying with her great-grandmother and is reportedly in "good condition."
A family spokesperson says a statement will be released sometime soon. Stay with Local 12 and Local12.com. We'll bring you any new information on this story as it develops.