Police: Person of interest in fire stabbed 2 women

AP News
Posted: Aug 24, 2011 7:59 PM
Police: Person of interest in fire stabbed 2 women

The death of a man in a car fire following a police pursuit in northern Indiana has been ruled a suicide and police say a man who stabbed two women is a person of interest in a house fire that killed a man and his two young sons.

Police were still releasing few details Wednesday, two days after a crime spree that left 38-year-old Jose Aguilar of Elkhart and his sons, 13-year-old Ricardo and 7-year-old Adolfo, dead and two women with stab wounds in two separate incidents.

Elkhart police identified Francisco Macias, 31, of Goshen as the person who stabbed the two women at two different locations early Monday. Police also said he was a person of interest in the house fire, but said "there is insufficient evidence to state that he is the perpetrator of this incident."

Police had said earlier that they believed the house fire, stabbings and the death of the man following the police pursuit near Goshen were related, but didn't said why. Police said in a press release Wednesday they would have no further comment until the investigation is complete.

Elkhart Assistant Fire Chief Shaun Edgerton said the fatal fire about 1:50 a.m. Monday was started by someone who threw a jerry-rigged propane tank through the dining room window at the house.

"He opened the tank, he used some sort of wicking mechanism and then set the wick on fire and hurled the tank through the window. The propane then spilling out becomes an incendiary device. It's kind of like a blow torch," Edgerton said.

The fire gutted the house and melted some of the siding on a neighbor's house.

Coroner John White on Wednesday said that the man found dead in the car died of burns and ruled his death a suicide. He would not say what led him to that conclusion, saying police had asked him not to comment. White also said an autopsy was inconclusive in identifying the body and that DNA testing is necessary.

Police have said the car was registered to Macias.

White also said the two Aguilar boys died of carbon monoxide poisoning and said the father probably did too, but said more testing was needed.