Double blow for Obama as aide’s wife dies in fire
Mystery as White House aide's wife is found dead in BMW after garage blaze
It has not been a happy week at the White House. Within 48 hours of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords - a friend of President Obama - being shot in the head by a would-be assassin, the wife of one of Obama's aides was found dead inside a burning car at her home in Washington DC.
Ashley Turton, 37, the mother of three young children, was an energy company lobbyist. Her husband Dan Turton, 43, is the White House deputy director of legislative affairs, effectively the liaison between Obama's administration and the House of Representatives. As such, he had gone into work at the White House on Saturday to help manage in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on Representative Giffords in Tucson.
The Turtons were described by the Washington Post as "a power couple... though not the cocktail-party kind of power couple". They had met "in the line of duty" when she came to Washington to work on the staff of North Carolina Democratic congressman Mike McIntyre and her husband-to-be was working for the Montana Democrat Dick Gephardt.
Why her BMW X5 burst into flames remains a mystery.
It was just before 5.0 am on Monday when neighbours in the Capitol Hill area of the city spotted the flames and called firefighters. Ashley Turton was on her way to work for an early start.
The blazing car was in the couple's garage, but with its rear protruding. It is possible she suffered some sort of cardiac or other medical problem as she was reversing out, and the SUV then jolted back into the garage, knocking into a flammable substance. She was discovered dead inside the vehicle once firefighters had brought the blaze under control.
White House acting chief of staff Pete Rouse described the Turtons as being part of the "White House family". ·
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