INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The SUV that was stolen from the home where a deadly fire took the lives of an entire family, was found Wednesday evening.
Two adults and four children, the Guerra family, died after their home in the 2100 block of Olney Street caught fire on Saturday.
Family members of Leo Guerra, his wife Brandy Mae, and their four children, say they realized someone had broken into the boarded-up home overnight Tuesday, took the keys and stole the SUV.
Around 7 p.m. Wednesday evening, David Guerra, Leo’s brother, said he received a phone call.
“Friend seen it at the light, he called another friend, the other friend called my brother, he called IMPD. We found the truck,” explained Guerra. “With the tragedy we had, basically that’s all he had left. It was hurting to the family and to the community that somebody would just go on the property after the tragedy and just take it.”
That was the concern at a prayer vigil outside the home earlier Wednesday evening. Dozens, including police officers and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, showed up to support the family.
Many lamented the fact there was now more suffering, on top of loss.
“It’s just a heartless, heartless thing that they would do,” said Leo’s sister Sandra Lopez, about the stolen SUV.
“We just want to prove to that person, that we still have good people that are here,” said niece Carmen Tello. “This is what we want to show people, that there’s still love in this community, that we are united.”
It was that united front, the family says helped to locate this SUV an hour after the prayer vigil began near 32nd and Station streets. They say friends spotted it. Police said two adults who were in the car, were taken in for questioning.
Jeremy Akins,29, was arrested and preliminarily charged with vehicle theft and Shadrick Shears, 18, was arrested and preliminarily charged with joy riding.
“We got God on our side, and he made it work out for us,” said David Guerra. “He (Leo) wanted it for his last son, and we’ll give it to him.”
Another silver lining, perhaps, in all of this tragedy, three of the family members: Brandy Mae, daughter Miranda, and son Fuentes, were able to donate organs to save dozens of other people in need.
The family says 6-yearold victim Fuentes Guerra’s heart went to save a 4 year old.
Also, the mother who lost four children in an Indianapo house fire in 1996 was on hand to comfort the family at the prayer vigil.
“Even though it has been 18 years, you know, it’s like it’s just today,” Holly said. “You know, you try to move on with your life. But you never get over it. Because you lost a loved one.”
Holly is now working for tougher laws when it comes to smoke detectors.
All six Guerra family members died of smoke inhalation, according to initial autopsies. Although a specific cause of the fire hasn’t been found, fire investigators believe the fire was accidental. Firefighters said they didn’t find any smoke detectors in the home.
Funeral arrangements are still pending. Anyone wishing to contribute to the funeral expenses can donate to the Guerra Charitable Final Arrangement Trust at Chase Bank. A phone number, 317-870-9673, has been set up for anyone who needs information about the trust fund, funeral arrangements, words of encouragement and non-monetary donations.