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Dad of family in arson case out of hospital

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Winder man has been released from the hospital after surviving being struck by a train earlier this summer.

Henry Lee Stringer, 33, was critically injured in a June 5 train accident in Buford, just six days after his two children, their mother and grandmother were found slain in their Hoschton home. The murder case is still unsolved, but Stringer has since been discharged from Grady Memorial Hospital, said hospital spokesperson Denise Simpson.

Police have not determined whether the train incident was a suicide attempt or an accident. Stringer was reportedly walking on the tracks, yet railroad employees told police he made no attempt to move out of the train's path before it struck him.

A woman who answered the phone at Stringer's last known address in Winder on Thursday said he was "not available right now" and hung up.

No suspects have been named in connection with the slayings of Stringer's children, 4-year-old J'Manjuan Stringer and his 2-year-old sister, J'Lasia Stringer, who were killed on May 30 along with their mother, Marvelette J'Laine Strickland, 29, and grandmother, Evelyn Strickland, 68.

The four were found dead after a fire broke out at their house in Hoschton, a small city with a total area of 2.5 square miles and 1,070 residents in Jackson County. Investigators believe the blaze was intentionally set to conceal evidence.

Mary Strickland, Evelyn Strickland's sister, told the Athens Banner-Herald that Evelyn and Marvelette Strickland were stabbed to death and the two children died of smoke inhalation. Mary Strickland could not be reached for comment Thursday at her Buford home.

The Hoschton Police Department, with its eight sworn officers, has never worked a homicide case of this magnitude before, said Chief David Hill. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is assisting them.

Officials from both agencies have released few details concerning the slayings, but they say the investigation is moving forward.

"We'd like to make an arrest by September," said Hoschton Police Chief David Hill. "Of course, I'd like to make an arrest the day after the homicide, but we need to make sure we cover all the areas we need to have a strong case."

Hill said investigators are releasing minimal information to protect the victims' family and the integrity of the case.

"I'm not going to announce a suspect until that person is in custody," Hill said. "One thing we've got to keep in mind is the family here. They've lost four loved ones in one tragic crime scene. Everything we do has got to be in their best interest."