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Belmont-area deaths ruled ‘double homicide’ in Belmont County

Victims identified

T-L Photo/JENNIFER COMPSTON-STROUGH Vehicles representing various state and local agencies are parked around a home where a double fatality occurred near Belmont early Tuesday.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas announced Wednesday that a “double homicide” resulted in the deaths of Thomas and Angela Strussion inside their Belmont-area home early Tuesday morning.

The two were found dead in their house along Trails End Drive, Belmont, after a structure fire was reported there. Belmont Fire Chief Bob Mills said his department was dispatched to the scene at 7:03 a.m. Tuesday, along with firefighters from Bethesda, Barnesville and Cumberland Trail. He declined to release any additional information about the blaze, which apparently was quickly contained.

“I just wanted to update the community that … from the house fire, the investigation, everybody involved, that we have classified it as a double homicide,” Lucas said at his office Wednesday afternoon. ” … All of us, the detective division and the sheriff’s office, working along with our state … is nonstop on this. And we’re not going to (stop) until we find out exactly what happened.”

Lucas said Tom Strussion was 52 years old and the owner of two local Salsa Joe’s restaurants, with locations near his home along U.S. 40 east of Morristown and on Lumber Avenue in the Elm Grove section of Wheeling. Those eateries appear to be closed, as calls to both locations during regular business hours Wednesday went unanswered.

Angela Strussion was 49 years old, according to Lucas. He said an autopsy was being performed on one of their bodies Wednesday, with the second autopsy expected to be completed today. He declined to say where those procedures were being performed and would not release any information regarding the manner of the deaths.

“Anything else, like pertinent information, could hurt us if we release … because the only one that knows what happened, you know, is the one that did it.”

Lucas said investigators are conducting “a lot of interviews” with acquaintances of the victims and with anyone who may have information related to the case.

Regarding whether investigators have a suspect, Lucas said: “We’re still deep in the initial phase of the investigation, so … we’re only in the second day of it, so a lot going on.”

He said he will continue to work closely with Chief Investigator Ryan Allar to decide when to release additional information.

“It’s just a very sad day — tragic for the whole family, so I try to … I always try to keep the family in mind when releasing information about it,” the sheriff said.

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