In less than 48 hours, officials have detained two Brazil juveniles for their alleged involvement in what officials have called a suspicious fire Sunday evening.
Brazil City Police Chief Terry Harrison released information to The Brazil Times about the joint investigation with the Brazil City Fire Department Wednesday afternoon. He was appreciative of tips provided by the public that assisted in the case.
"I'm really pleased this has been resolved in such a timely manner," Harrison said. "We immediately started an investigation after the fire Sunday night. Information provided to the department by someone in the community helped bring it to such a quick resolution."
Shortly before 8 p.m., Sunday, the Brazil City Fire Department was dispatched to a home at 611 West Jackson Street that was fast burning with intense heat and smoke. Firefighters were on the scene battling the fire until around midnight.
At the time, Brazil Fire Chief Jim Smith said the fire was suspicious in nature because there were no utilities in service at the home, which has been vacant for several years. It was later determined that an unidentified accelerant was used to start the fire, which destroyed the home.
Harrison, Smith and Det. Clint McQueen were able to locate two juveniles believed to be involved and took them into custody for questioning. During the interview, the juveniles said they were "bored and looking for something to do" when the fire was started.
Both juveniles, one 17-years-old and the other 14, were detained and sent to a juvenile detention facility in Muncie, Ind., while officials arranged for a probable cause hearing to justify their detention, and further detention, in a Clay County Circuit Court Wednesday afternoon.
Harrison said enough evidence was provided during the court proceedings to set an initial hearing for formal allegations to be brought against the two juveniles. Each is expected to be charged with one B felony count of arson and one A misdemeanor count of criminal trespass for their alleged involvement in the fire.
The Clay County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case to see if, because of the nature of the incident and the severity of the charges, the unidentified 17-year-old should be waived into adult court.
According to Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger, if waived to adult court and convicted of the two charges, the 17-year-old juvenile could face a range of potential penalties, including a jail sentence of 6-20 years for the B felony and up to a year imprisonment for the A misdemeanor.
Although facing the same charges, Reberger said the 14-year-old juvenile, if found delinquent, would be punished according at the discretion of the court according to the guidelines set in the juvenile court system.
Reberger said both juveniles would remain in detention until their initial hearings, scheduled for Tuesday, in Clay Circuit Court. He was unable to provide further information due to the ongoing investigation.