EAST RUTHERFORD - Police are investigating after an elderly woman was found dead in an East Rutherford house fire, and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office says her death has been ruled a murder.

Firefighters responded to 911 calls about a house fire on Sheppard Terrace Friday afternoon. After the fire was put out, 70-year-old Barbara Vernieri was found dead inside. Police have ruled her death a homicide, but say a cause of death won't be released until an autopsy is performed. Investigators believe the fire may have been started to cover up her murder.

Neighbors say Vernieri worked part-time as a real estate agent.