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Man charged in 2016 slayings of Rockford woman, 3 children

December 18, 2021 GMT

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) — A man already in prison has been charged with killing a northern Illinois woman and her three children in 2016, authorities said Friday.

Eric Jackson, 38, has been charged with murder in the deaths of Keandra Austin and her three children, ages 9, 6 and 6 months, Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley and Rockford City Police Chief Carla Redd announced.

Police say the Rockford Fire Department responded to a house fire on Sept. 17, 2016. After extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered the remains of Austin and her children. Autopsies revealed Austin had been killed before the fire and that her children died from injuries and smoke inhalation caused by the fire.

Police learned Austin and her children had been having problems with a neighbor named Eric Jackson and Jackson over the years made statements to others about his involvement in the deaths and fire, the Rockford Register Star reported.

Jackson has been serving a sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections on unrelated charges.