Fatal Harlingen house fire ruled murder-suicide

Crime Scene Photo

An early morning explosion that left an elderly couple dead is now being investigated as a murder-suicide.

Harlingen Police Sgt. David Osborne told Action 4 News Art Cohan drove his vehicle to a mechanic shop and parked it.

Inside the home, police said they found a 13-page suicide note detailing why he killed his wife, who'd reportedly been in severe pain.

Firefighters found the charred remains of Art Cohan on the bedroom floor, beside his wife Debbie TMs bed, in their home on the 1200 block of Rio Hondo Road.

According to police, Cohan suffocated his wife, Debbie, around 2:30 Monday morning and doused her with a flammable liquid.

Authorities said he lit the match to set her on fire with the gas burners on causing a low-level explosion.

Sgt. Osborne told Action 4 News the explosion happened at 5:46 a.m. blowing out all of the doors and windows of the home.

The structure is still intact and nearby homes in the area did not sustain serious damage.

Art Cohan leaves behind six children.

Debbie McClure-Cohan was their stepmother.

Action 4 News spoke with one of Cohan's sons.

Steve Cohan said murder-suicide or not, he wants his father to be remembered as a U.S. Marine.

The South Texas Arson Response team was called in to search through the rubble and determine the cause.

Their investigation continues.

Art Cohan was a veteran and instrumental in getting a memorial building in nearby Pendleton Park.

On Monday, veterans gathered at the park to lower the flag to half-staff and hold a brief vigil.