• Police: Mother, son found dead in house fire were killed

    By: Jenna Deery

    Updated:

    What to know:

    • Two people were found dead inside a home in Mount Holly on Monday.
    • Police identified the two as mother and son in a Wednesday afternoon news conference. Police said they died between last Thursday and Monday morning.
    • The mother's boyfriend is being called a person of interest. He is being held in Georgia on unrelated charges.

    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- A mother and her teenage son were killed before their Mount Holly home was set on fire, according to Gaston County Police. Now, the woman's boyfriend, Peter Rivers, is being called a person of interest.

    PHOTOS: 2 found dead after Mount Holly house fire
     
    Rivers was arrested in Georgia one day after the bodies of 38-year-old Bridget Berry and 17-year-old T.J. Berry were found after firefighters put out a blaze Monday morning at their home on Ridgewood Court.

    RAW VIDEO: Gaston Co. press conference on Mt. Holly arson, homicide

    Rivers was arrested in Camden County on Tuesday on dangerous drug charges. Camden County is along the Atlantic coast and it is about five hours away from Mount Holly, according to court records.
     
    Police said he was driving the family's SUV police have been looking for since the fire. They said Berry and her son died sometime between last Thursday and Monday morning. Thursday is about the time neighbors said they last saw Rivers.
     
    Investigators would not say how Berry and her son died, but they believe someone killed the two before the fire was set based on evidence collected at the home and autopsy results.
     
    "This investigation is now an arson slash homicide investigation. The fire did not cause the death of the two victims," said assistant chief of Gaston County police, Joe Ramey.
     
    Police wouldn't say why Rivers was in Georgia, but they said they traveled to Camden County to talk to Rivers.
     
    Neighbors built a small memorial around the mailbox of Berry's and Rivers' home. Kathy Locklear said.

    Berry told her Rivers was her childhood sweetheart and the two rekindled their relationship as adults two years ago.
     
    "She was standing in the grocery store one day and she looked and said 'Petey?'" said Locklear. "He turned around and looked and that's when they started dating."
     
    Locklear described Rivers as quiet and reserved. She said Berry and Rivers were working on launching a construction business and she didn't notice problems between the two.
     
    Because Gaston County police have not charged Rivers in its case, he isn't being extradited from Camden County to Gaston County.

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