FLORA, Ind. - Indiana State Police have confirmed to FOX59, they are watching persons of interest in the fatal Flora fire that happened back in November.
The fire claimed the lives of four young sisters; Keyana Davis, 11, Keyara Phillips, 9, Kerriele McDonald, 7, and Konnie Welch, 5, after they were trapped inside the home in the 100 block of E. Columbia St.
State Police tell FOX59 that they are "watching" several people who may have something to do with the fire.
"We’re watching some people. That’s all I can say about that," said ISP Superintendent Doug Carter.
FOX59's Aishah Hasnie asked, "Would you call them persons of interest?"
Carter replied, "I would."
He also added, "People continue to talk. And we want them to continue that. There are things that happened inside that house that only the person who set that fire knows."
This development comes as State Police establishes it is the lead agency in the Flora case after a breakdown in communication. Carter said taking the lead wouldn't change the investigation, rather "make it have a singular focus and I think that’s what it needs."
He did not believe the breakdown in communication delayed the resolution of this investigation in any way.
The victims' mother, Gaylin Rose, hoped the latest developments would speed up the investigation and bring her and her family a closure.
"I want him to do the right thing, you know, do his job. Do what he's supposed to do. Show me something different," said Rose.
She and her family have had many questions about the investigation and exactly how investigators ruled the fire arson?
FOX59 obtained an email several months ago claiming to be written by a private fire investigator employed to investigate the Flora fire. The email is addressed to state officials handling the case.
In the email, the private investigator claims the State Fire Marshal's conclusions about the fire are "NOT CORRECT and completely based on speculation and NOT evidence." Specifically, the private investigator points to the accelerants the Fire Marshal's office believes it found in several locations of the house. He says that finding is "absolutely NOT based on any evidence discovered at the scene during the investigation...".
The private investigator also goes on to claim a state fire investigator was not performing the investigation properly.
We took concerns about improper investigating to Carter and asked if any mistakes were made in the Flora case and if anyone had been reprimanded for any errors made?
"Of course there have been mistakes. There's mistakes every single day when people try to do the right thing. The issue is are they doing anything tha they know is wrong?" Carter replied. "No one has been reprimanded that I'm aware of. No one on the ISP has been reprimanded for anything."
FOX59 is still waiting on a response from the State Fire Marshal's office about the email from the private investigator.
Carter said he would want to have a conversation with Rose, starting with an apology for her tragic loss.
"As long as I am breathing air and am Superintendent of this agency, we are not leaving Flora and we are not leaving Delphi. That’s what I would say to her," said Carter.
The fire is believed to be intentionally set after accelerants were reportedly found in several locations in the home.
Anyone with information about the case should contact the Indiana State Arson Hotline at 1-800-382-4628. Callers may receive up to a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible.