ARCADIA, FLA. -- A mother whose three sons have been exposed to the AIDS virus said yesterday that the boys will be withdrawn from school and the family will leave DeSoto County after a suspicious fire gutted their home.
"I will not go back," Louise Ray said in a telephone interview from her lawyer's office in Sarasota. "I don't know where we'll go or what we'll do. We'll go into seclusion for a few days. The only thing I do know is that we will not move back into DeSoto County."
The fire Friday night that destroyed their frame home capped a week of bomb and death threats and a boycott of the elementary school where the boys returned last week to their classes.
Ray, her husband, Clifford, and their children -- Ricky, 10, Robert, 9, Randy, 8, and Candy, 6 -- were not home when the fire erupted.
The boys' uncle, Andy Ray, 27, was asleep in a bedroom but escaped. He was released from DeSoto Memorial Hospital after treatment for smoke inhalation.
James Smithers, a friend of Andy Ray, said he arrived at the Ray home to find flames and smoke. He could smell gasoline, he said. Smithers said he ran through the front door and into Ray's bedroom and helped Ray out of the house.
"It's a suspicious fire," Sheriff Joe Varnadore said. "It burned the house very fast. . . . It looks like they lost everything."