Greenwich Police say they are continuing their investigation into this week's Old Greenwich house fire in which an elderly woman was critically injured and her 42-year-old Old Greenwich man committed suicide.
Spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray said police and fire investigators are still trying to determine how the fire—which has been ruled an arson because accelerants were found at the scene—was set and when. Investigators believe the Oct. 2 fire smouldered for some time before neighbors of Dean Verboven and his mother Barbara Verboven saw smoke pouring from the windows of the home at 46 Havemeyer Ln. shortly after 7 a.m.
Greenwich firefighters found Barbara Verboven, 69, beneath the covers of her bed in a first-floor bedroom on Oct. 2. Her son, Dean Verboven, 42, "was found on the floor in the same bedroom adjacent to the mother's bed," Gray said. "He had an injury to the head which was obviously a grave injury," Gray said during a Friday morning press conference
The Connecticut state Medical Examiner has ruled that Dean Verboven, known to friends and family as Duke, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Gray said a legal pistol was found in the house. He would not say whether Dean Verboven had a permit for the weapon. He was pronounced dead at Stamford Hospital.
Barbara Verboven, 69, has not regained consciousness and remains in critical condition in the burn center of Bridgeport Hospital where she's being treated for severe burns and internal injuries caused by smoke inhalation, Gray said.
Gray also said investigators have found "writings" in the home which may provide a motive for the incident. Dean Verboven was the primary caregiver of his ailing mother, according to authorities and neigbhors.
Neighbors and authorities have said the two-story brick and vinyl-sided house on Havemeyer, at the corner of MacArthur Drive was filled with clutter, a backdrop filled with hoarded materials that hampered firefighting efforts. There were efforts by the Greenwich Social Services Department to help the family clean up the property. However, Gray said, there aren't any laws preventing someone from amassing large amounts of clutter if it doesn't pose a public safety threat.
Dean Verboven was the youngest son of Barbara and Donald Verboven, according to former coworkers. Donald was a Greenwich Police sergeant who retired in 1986. He died in December 1991. The couple had two other sons, Donald Jr. and Daniel.
Retired Police Lt. Thomas Keegan said he remembers coaching the police Babe Ruth baseball team for years with Donald Verboven and that "Duke was a real good baseball player."
Barbara Verboven worked as a secretary in the Greenwich Board of Education's human resources department from 1988 until her retirement in March 2006, according to schools spokeswoman Kim Eves. "She was a valued employee. This is a tragedy—an unfortunate situation. We are all very saddened by it," Eves said.