Sheriff: Body of woman dumped in Catawba River after house set on fire with 2 children inside

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Heidi Wolfe, 16, and Areli Aguirre-Avilez, 30, are both charged with three counts of first-degree murder after the body of a woman was found in the Catawba River and her two children were found dead inside their torched home.

ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - The Alexander County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday the body they're searching for in the Catawba River has been identified as a woman who had been reported missing following an arson fire at her home. The bodies of her two children were found inside the house.

Deputies believe the prime suspect, Areli Aguirre-Avilez, 30, who is the ex-spouse of the woman who lived at the home, and his purported girlfriend, Heidi Wolfe, 16, killed the family of three inside the home before setting the house on fire. 

Related: 2nd arrest made in deadly arson, PD combing Catawba River for 3rd body

Deputies with the Alexander County Sheriff's Office responded to a call of a house fire on Pine Meadows Lane around 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 15.  As hotspots were being put out, two bodies, barely recognizable, were discovered. After a brief investigation, a wide range of accelerant were discovered and it was determined to be arson.

The two bodies are those of 12-year-old America Pacheco and 11-year-old Angel Pacheco, the sheriff's office said. Preliminary autopsies were completed at Baptist Hospital on Tuesday. Their cause of death is pending. 

Deputies say the body of the children's mother, 38-year-old Maria Calderon, was moved from the home and dumped in the Catawba River over the weekend. They are continuing to search for her.  

Related: 3 dead in suspected arson house fire; ex-husband arrested

Both Wolfe and Avilez were charged on Monday with three counts of first-degree murder. Both remain in custody without bond in Alexander County. 

Authorities say they are also seeking information on the whereabouts of two acquaintances Calderon, Jose Carlos Mendez and Luis Fernando. They are not considered suspects in the investigation. 

Watch Tuesday's news conference with the Alexander County Sheriff's Office