The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Loudoun County fire marshal's office are providing technical assistance in the investigation of Leesburg's first homicides in three years, according to Leesburg police.

In an effort to solicit information from the public, police have released a family photograph of Francis Beland, 75, and his wife, Lillian, 71, who were found slain Oct. 28.

Leesburg police Capt. Clagget Moxley said police have obtained search warrants for the couple's Leesburg bank account and their department store charge account.

The Belands were found dead in their nightclothes in the master bedroom of their apartment in the 100 block of Fort Evans Road SE after neighbors reported smelling smoke coming from the apartment. Moxley said a fire had "smothered itself out" by the time firefighters arrived.

Francis Beland was stabbed, police said, but officials have not said how his wife died.

Moxley said police released the photograph to try to "personalize the victims" and encourage anyone who may have seen or heard anything regarding the crime, "no matter how insignificant it may seem to them," to contact them.

"We're hoping they will look at it and say, 'It could have been my grandparents,' " Moxley said.

The last slayings in Leesburg were in 1999 when a teenager was shot in a neighborhood known for drug dealing and in 1992 when a man driving home from work was shot.

The Belands' slaying "is the most horrible crime we've ever had," said Moxley, who grew up in Leesburg.

Moxley said anyone with information should call police at 703-771-4500 or Loudoun Crime Solvers at 703-771-1919. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the Leesburg Crime Line at 703-443-TIPS (8477). The Crime Line and Crime Solvers pay cash rewards for information leading to arrest of a suspect responsible for a crime.

-- Leslie Shepherd

Francis and Lillian Beland were found dead in their home Oct. 28.