Police: North Port woman started fire that killed her and child

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:02 am | Updated: 9:22 am, Mon Aug 25, 2014.

NORTH PORT, Fla. - A five month long investigation into the death of a North Port woman and her young son is over. North Port Detectives now say the mother set the fire, but are still not clear on why the woman did it.

"The State Fire Marshal determined she was the one who set the fire," says Detective Brian Chippendale. They say 43-year old Carol Wisdom was alive with a gas can and matches by her side when the fire started in her Duar terrace home in April. Her eight year old son Michael was found inside their car in the garage where the fire was set. "We believe the child was at least unconscious or possibly deceased prior to the fire. Just the way he was positioned in the vehicle."

Carol Wisdom's ex-husband Michael, who is the boy's father, was initially questioned. Court records indicate a tumultuous relationship between the mother and father, dating back years. A custody battle was proceeding just days leading up to the fire. "He was very cooperative. He took polygraph and passed. There was a neighbor that confirmed he was home that early morning."

Friends of Carol Wisdom we talked to off camera say the whole thing doesn't make any sense. They say the mother would never purposely hurt her child. They're now questioning the findings.

Authorities did say it is was possible the boy drowned in the bathroom tub prior to the fire. Perhaps by force or being found by the mom after falling asleep in it. They say the rest of her family, who live in Canada, are in disbelief. "We don't know exactly what happened that evening other than she did call her ex-husband. They argued a little bit about Michael going to school. That was the last phone calls she made."

Detectives say multiple agencies and scientific resources lead to the final conclusion. "Any case that we can have closure on is a good feel. The outcome is still a tragic incident."

The case has been officially ruled a homicide and will be cleared as death of offender.

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