Details are emerging regarding a house fire that authorities now believe may be a murder-suicide, which family members have confirmed.
On Sunday, June 5, Huntsville Police Department (HPD), Huntsville Fire Department and EMS responded to a house fire around 2 a.m.
After the fire was extinguished, emergency services discovered the bodies of Justin Tyler and his wife, Martella Tyler. Authorities now claim they believe the fire to be a case of domestic violence, a murder-suicide by Justin Tyler against his wife.
Court documents filed by Martella Tyler state that the pair had been married since 2013. According to the documents, Justin Tyler was arrested for first-degree domestic violence against Martella in February, where records claim he injured Martella with a dangerous instrument.
He was also charged with “hitting and kicking” one of Martella's daughters, Samora Tyler, in the same event in which he was charged with assaulting Martella.
Days later, Martella applied for a protective order against Justin, which was subsequently granted.
“He punched me, stomped me, stabbed me three times in the head, left side and face,” Martella Tyler stated in her protective order application. “I feel like he has a mental health condition that is untreated.”
A Gofundme has been started by Martella’s sister, Connie Tator, to help support the surviving children. Thus far, over $16,000 has been raised.
Although the investigation is still ongoing, and an official report has not been released, Tator makes a startling claim in the fund’s description.
“On Sunday, June 5th, a terrible tragedy happened to Martella Tyler and one of her three daughters,” Tator stated in the Gofundme description. "Her husband attempted to kill both Martella and their daughter. The daughter was able to escape, Martella did not. He murdered her and set the house on fire, destroying a good portion of their home and making it unliveable. Martella leaves behind three beautiful daughters who are now without both mother and father. At this moment, along with prayers, we are asking for donations for these girls. They have a long road ahead of therapy, healing and life ahead. We are hoping to be able to help these girls with school scholarships, living expenses and financial support.”
Tator did not specify which daughter she claimed escaped before the murder occurred.
"It's just wrong how her life was taken from her this way," Tator said in a social media post. "My heart just hurts so much to lose my only sister, my only sibling, my first best friend. It's strange being at my mom's house... I'm just waiting for her to come through the door and give her a big hug, and hear her voice when it will never happen. I'm thankful for the 40 years I had with my sis and really wish I had more time with her. I don't think or even know how I will ever get over any of this. I'm [more so] angry these girls will now have to grow up and spend the rest of their lives without their mom due to a senseless act."
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