Akron, Ohio police arrested Stanley O. Ford for allegedly setting fire to his neighbor’s house, killing seven people, including five children. The 58-year-old Ford was charged with one count of aggravated arson and seven counts of murder.
Police say Ford lit the home of Dennis Huggins and Angela Boggs on fire on May 15. His arrest was announced in a press conference on May 23. Police didn’t say if Ford is also a suspect in an April 2016 fire that killed two people just two blocks away.
Ford will be arraigned in Akron Municipal Court on Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Here’s what you need to know about Ford and the fire.
1. The Ages of the 5 Children Killed Ranged from 14 Years Old to 16 Months Old
The fire happened on Fultz Street on Monday, May 15. As Fox8 reports, firefighters responded to the home at 3 a.m. The adults killed in the fire were Dennis Huggins, 35, and his longtime girlfriend, Angela Boggs, 38.
WKYC reports that officials finally confirmed the identities of the five children killed on May 22. The couple had a sixth child, 18-year-old Britt Boggss, who was not home at the time.
The children who died in the fire were: Jared Boggs, 14; Daisia Huggins, 6; Kyle Huggins, 5; Alivia Huggins, 3; and Cameron Huggins, 16 months. The family’s dog died as well.
On May 19, the family was honored with a balloon launch at Helen Arnold Community Learning Center on Vernon Odom Boulevard. Daisia attended the school and her classmates released pink balloons into the sky.
“It was actually [Daisia’s] classmates that wanted to do something special for her. She loved pink; she loved butterflies. So, we said let’s do the release of the balloons and butterflies for her today,” Principal LaMonica Davis told Fox8.
A GoFundMe page, which is no longer active, raised over $59,000 for the family. It was set up by Britt.
Britt told Fox8 that she was not at the home because she just started a summer job. She said she wishes she was there because she thinks she could have helped save her youngest siblings.
“I’m trying to deal with it the best way that I can, but it is hard. I’ve been crying a lot. I’m in shock,” Britt said. “I’ll never get to hug my mom or brothers and sisters… They were everything to me.”
2. Ford’s Arrest Follows the Search of a Nearby Home Where Authorities Found Gas Cans
On May 18, Fox8 reported that police were seen searching two homes near the destroyed home that belonged to the same man. Investigators were seen taking three bags of cloths, gas cans, a computer and other items from the home. Police confirmed to Fox8 that the search was connected to the fire.
The search warrants were sealed by the courts. Authorities did not go into details of the evidence taken from the homes during the press conference.
“Of course I want to know why and who,” Brittany Boggs told Fox8. “But at the same time, it doesn’t matter how many questions I have and how many answers they give me. It’s not going to bring back my family.”
3. Police Refused to Reveal the Motive Behind the Arson
During the press conference, police refused to give details on the case, Cleveland.com notes. Officials from the State Fire Marshal’s office, Akron Fire Department and the Akron Police Department were joined by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan.
“This is a devastating tragedy for our community,” Horrigan said Tuesday. “The safety of our residents is my top priority, and I vow to do everything in my power to ensure that justice is achieved for these victims and their families.”
“We do know that this was an intentional, human act, and this was a set fire,” Interim State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey said during the press conference.
The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as “smoke inhilation,” noting that none of the victims suffered any non-fire-related injuries.
Ohio.com reports that Ford has not faced criminal charges in Akron or Summit County courts before.
4. Another Arson Just 2 Blocks Away Killed 2 People in April 2016
Police also refused to say if Ford is a suspect in an April 18, 2016 fire that killed Lindell Lewis, 66, and Gloria Hart, 65. That fire happened just two blocks away from the May 15, 2017 fire.
As Cleveland.com reported just three days after that April 2016 fire, authorities quickly ruled it arson. However, investigators never made an arrest at the time.
WKYC notes that investigators haven’t determined if there is a link between the two fires.
5. A 47-Year-Old Man Arrested Last Week Isn’t a Suspect in the May 15 Fire
On May 16, Cleveland.com reported that a “person of interest” was arrested in connection with the fire. The 47-year-old man was held on a parole violation and was not charged with a crime connected to the fire. Court records showed that the person did have a criminal record. In addition, Angela Boggs had a protection order against the man after he was charged with domestic violence and arson in 2001.
However, during the press conference today, police said the 47-year-old man is no longer a suspect.
The fire matched the deadliest in Akron’s history. A 1994 fire in the city also killed seven people.