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Train victim linked to dead family

LAWRENCEVILLE - A 33-year-old man struck by a train Monday in Buford is believed to be the father of two children killed last week along with their mother and grandmother in Hoschton.

Henry Lee Stringer was on life support and listed in critical condition Wednesday at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, said Cpl. R.D. Work, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Stringer was walking on the railroad tracks near the intersection of South Waterworks Road and Buford Dam Road on Monday afternoon when train operators spotted him. The train wasn't able to stop in time, and it struck and dragged Stringer about 200 feet before coming to a halt, according to a police report.

Four-year-old J'Majiuan Stringer and his 2-year-old sister, J'Lasia Stringer, were found dead along with their mother, Marvelette Strickland, 29, and grandmother, Evelyn Strickland, 68, on May 30 after a fire broke out at their house in Jackson County.

The GBI confirmed that Henry Lee Stringer is the name of the children's father, but they were still trying to determine whether he is the same man who was struck by the train. Frank Stephens, special agent in charge for the FBI field office in Athens, said authorities spoke with Stringer after the fire but have not been able to locate him since.

Investigators believe a blaze was intentionally set at the house using accelerants. An autopsy revealed that the children and their mother and grandmother died before the blaze started, but Stephens would not say how they were killed. Police are still searching for a suspect in that incident.

Eyewitnesses saw a slender black man of medium height wearing dark clothing running away from the general area of the fire at the time it broke out, Stephens said. The same individual was seen in Winder within the hour.

Gwinnett County jail records show Stringer was jailed eight times between 1998 and 2002 on a variety of charges such as theft by taking, having a suspended license, giving a false name, DUI, failure to appear and violation of probation.

Stephens would not say whether Stringer was a suspect in the slayings.

"We're not talking about anything about that case other than what happened the morning of the fire," Stephens said. "We are continuing to pursue leads and believe the investigation is moving in a positive manner."

GBI agents and officers from the Hoschton Police Department have been working "virtually around the clock" since the fire occurred interviewing potential witnesses and examining evidence, Stephens said.