SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - Firefighters made a shocking discovery in southeast Shelby County after they were called about a house fire. There, they found the body of a 32-year-old mother and her 4-month-old son.
Neighbors are in shock.
"My neighbor told me when I was pulling up, ‘come here,’ she said, ‘hey man, you know a young lady got killed around the block,’” said Jewel Nathaniel, neighbor.
Jewel Nathaniel is like a lot of neighbors who were just getting home and hearing the awful news about their neighborhood.
Sources confirm Heather Cook and her infant son, Bentley, were the victims found dead after a reported fire.
The Shelby County Fire Department received a call around 9 a.m. Friday about a fire on Bennington Circle in this southeast Shelby County.
When firefighters went inside the house, they found Cook and her son dead. At that point the Shelby County Sheriff’s office was called in.
Neighbors like, Jim Searcy, watched as the whole area was roped off with yellow crime scene tape.
"From 9:30 to probably 12:30 or 1, there were cars and individuals coming and leaving,” said Jim Searcy, neighbor.
Neighbors said it was clear something very serious had happened.
“What concerned me more than anything else was when the detectives and the sheriff’s department got out of their vehicles with bullet proof vests on. That concerned me that maybe something was going on,” said Searcy.
Investigators have not released the cause of their deaths or the fire but they have ruled the incident as a homicide.
“It’s pretty quiet around here, you know, so for someone to be killed, murdered, that’s a little serious,” said Nathaniel.
The Sheriff’s office has not released any information about a motive for the murders. The Shelby County medical examiner’s office will determine the exact cause of death.
The family of Heather and Bentley Cook released the following statement:
"Our family is heartbroken on learning of the death of our beloved daughter Heather Reneé Cook and her baby, Bentley Evan Cook, both of Memphis, Tennessee.
Heather was a devoted single mother of this precious boy who had just begun his life. A college graduate and professional, Heather was dedicated to Bentley’s every happiness, sharing her joy daily with her family and friends with videos and pictures posted to social media. Bentley was an incredibly happy baby, full of smiles and laughter.
Heather and Bentley are survived by Heather’s parents, Patti Howell and Bill Cook, and step-mother Colleen Cook, sisters Kassye Howell, Catherine Cook, and brothers Ryan Cross, Andrew Cook, and Spencer Cook. They have a large extended family and many friends who will miss them immensely.
As you can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for our family and we ask that our privacy be respected as we lay Heather and Bentley to rest. Thank you for your support and prayers."