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Family lawyer: Manchester couple died before fire at their home

Staff Report
April 01. 2014 8:13PM

Police are seeking Matthew Dion, pictured, as a person of interest in the case. 

MANCHESTER - The lawyer representing relatives of homicide victims Robert and Constance Dion said Tuesday that the couple had clearly died before the March 24 fire that heavily damaged their Mooresville Road home.Manchester attorney James Normand also said authorities turned the Dion home over to the family on Saturday afternoon, five days after the fire and intense crime-scene investigation that followed. He said the home had been heavily damaged, with walls ripped apart, studs visible and appliances melted from the heat of the fire.'There clearly was a contribution to this fire,' Normand said. 'This was not a normal fire. Something helped move it along.'

Homicide prosecutors have remained characteristically tight-lipped ever since the discovery of the Dions, a well-known, retired couple who had lived at 210 Mooresville Road for decades. Authorities have said Robert Dion, 71, and Constance Dion, 67, died of homicide, but have not said how or when they died.They have also called the fire suspicious.

Normand said it is clear they died before the fire.

Homicide prosecutor Janice Rundles said she wouldn't say when the couple died, given the ongoing nature of the investigation. She said the fire was intense and suspicious, but would not say if anything was used to stoke or accelerate the fire.Dion was the retired postmaster of the North Salem post office, an avid stamp collector and a bowler. Connie was a quilter and seamstress. Both enjoyed traveling and kept a wide circle of friends.

On Tuesday, Rundles called their son, Matthew T. Dion, 38, a potential witness in the case. Authorities had earlier called him a person of interest, and Rundles said there is little difference in the two terms.'We've always said we believe he has information about the fire and potentially about the deaths of his parents that we want to talk to him about,' Rundles said.

Rundles said Matthew Dion's name and information have been entered in a national police database. She acknowledged that he could be dead.'We don't have any real solid information yet. We're pursuing every avenue we can possibly think about,' Rundles said.

The younger Dion was hurt years ago in a car accident, returned home to live with his parents and in the last few years had a child with a former Memorial High School classmate, according to previous news accounts.The Dion family passes no judgment on Matthew Dion, Normand stressed. The family encourages anyone with information about his whereabouts to call police. People who feel uncomfortable talking to police can call Normand's office, he said.Normand said information is also being sought concerning vehicles that up to five days prior to the blaze were seen in the driveway of the Dion home.

Police used a search warrant to remove 'boxes and boxes' of financial documents and some stamps from the house, Normand said. A contractor that the family hired to work at the house found one small plastic tub of stamps and turned it over to the relatives, Normand said.The family is preparing for the couple's wake on Thursday at Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory, 1799 Elm St., and funeral Friday morning at St. Anthony Church.

Normand said a new will, reportedly drawn up by the Dions, has yet to be found.

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