- Texas man arrested for powder-letter hoax
- Islamic State opens ‘marriage bureau’ for single jihadists
- Drone almost blocks California firefighting planes
- Tornado rips off roofs, downs trees near Boston
- GOP: Environmental rules keeping agents from accessing border
- John Kerry: Millions displaced by religious fighting in 2013
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia’s gay marriage ban
- White House says Russia ‘losing’ war in Ukraine
- Hamas turns to North Korea for weapons deal, Iran for money
- Syrian casualties surge as jihadis consolidate
Indiana home explosion investigated as homicide
Question of the Day
INDIANAPOLIS — The house explosion that killed two people and destroyed several homes in an Indianapolis neighborhood is now being investigated as a homicide, authorities said, though no suspects have been named.
Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons announced the criminal investigation Monday evening, shortly after a funeral was held for the husband and wife who had lived next door to the house where investigators believe the blast occurred.
“We are turning this into a criminal homicide investigation,” Coons said after meeting with residents, the first public acknowledgement by investigators of a possible criminal element to the Nov. 10 explosion.
Search warrants have been executed and officials are now looking for a white van that was seen in the subdivision on the day of the blast, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said. Federal authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
Curry said the investigation is aimed at “determining if there are individuals who may be responsible for this explosion and fire,” but neither he nor Coons took questions or indicated if investigators had any suspects. No arrests have been made.
A lawyer representing Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard, who lived in that home that is believed to have exploded, said Tuesday that the couple was bewildered by the new direction of the investigation.
Randall Cable said in a statement that Shirley and Leonard have “cooperated fully” with investigators and that they want the cause “of this horrific and saddening tragedy to be determined.”
Officials say they believe natural gas was involved in the explosion, which destroyed five homes and left dozens damaged. Investigators have focused on appliances in their search for a cause. The explosion caused an estimated $4.4 million in damage.
“We thought something like this was not just an accident,” said Doug Aldridge, who heads the neighborhood Crime Watch.
Aldridge said he and other residents frequently saw a white van parked outside the home, though he didn’t know who owned it. He said residents are angry and upset but that he expects most of them to stay in the neighborhood.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral Monday for John Dion Longworth, 34, and his 36-year-old wife Jennifer Longworth.
She was a second-grade teacher remembered for knitting gifts for her students, while her husband, an electronics expert, was known as a gardener and nature lover. The school where Jennifer Longworth taught was closed Monday so teachers and students could attend the funeral.
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard told reporters after attending the Longworths’ funeral Monday that he had been having a hard time coming to terms with what happened.
“There is a search for truth and there is a search for justice,” Ballard said.
John Shirley, who co-owns the house with his ex-wife, Monserrate, has told The Associated Press that he had recently received a text message from his 12-year-old daughter saying the furnace in the home had gone out.
TWT Video Picks
By Scott Pinsker
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- Babson College, BYU win top spots in Money magazine's college rankings
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- White House defends Kerry failure to broker Middle East cease-fire
- Romney would win popular vote in rematch against Obama: CNN poll
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Computer glitch caused odd Saturday release of D.C. guns ruling
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq