A 10-year-old boy who lived in a home where five people died in a fire has confessed to setting the blaze, police said Friday.
The boy faces five delinquency counts of murder and one delinquency count of aggravated arson in Darke County juvenile court, police Chief Dennis Butts said in a statement.
Butts said the boy confessed that the fire was intentional, but that he did not intend its outcome. Butts did not release the boy’s name and declined to answer questions from reporters.
The boy’s relationship to the occupants of the house was not immediately known. Also, authorities did not say how the fire was set or whether the boy is in police custody.
The fire roared through the two-story wood-frame duplex Sunday morning.
Chanan Palmer, 31, and her daughter, Kaysha Minnich, 8, died. Also killed were Kayla Winans, 6, JeShawn Davis, 5, and Jasmine Davis, 3. They were the children of Christy Winans, 31, who escaped. Also escaping the blaze were Palmer’s son and Winans’ boyfriend.
Christy Winans did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment Friday.
Mayor says 'people are heartbroken'
The deaths stirred the emotions of this rural Ohio town of 24,000 about 30 miles northwest of Dayton.
“People are heartbroken with the tragedy,” Mayor Gregory Fraley said earlier Friday. “And people’s hearts have been troubled again since we announced last night that it was intentionally set.”
Fraley said Red Cross and Hospice are partnering for grieving sessions with neighbors.
A makeshift memorial across the street from the house had swelled from a few stuffed animals on Monday to a small mountain of more than 250 by Friday.
Stuffed bears, bunnies and dogs in a rainbow of colors ringed a silver maple tree. Pinned to the tree were photos of the victims and sheets of paper offering words of comfort, including “God’s crying with us.”