Five siblings die in arson in Guayaquil

09 de abril de 2013 09:30

“Mrs. Karen is dead,” one neighbour said to another in the crowd of 50 people gathered in the narrow alley near the site of a house fire early yesterday morning.

She is not. Karen, 29, mother of five, is in a coma at the IESS hospital. Burns cover 30 percent of her body.

But her five children, aged three, five, ten, 13 and 14, died in the middle of the night in the fire that consumed their family home.

The police investigation is still underway, but the neighbours already have a theory about the crime. 

According to one witness, Karen and her live-in partner, Gabriel M. had been drinking outside the house and started fighting. Neighbours called the police to take Gabriel away. At 1:30 a.m., the man left, but was seen pacing the alley, shirtless, smoking drugs.

A witness told this newspaper that he saw Gabriel pass the house at 3am with an empty gallon can of gasoline.

“He took the gasoline to kill those children. He’s a miserable wretch.”

Gabriel has been detained by police but it’s not clear if he’s being charged. However, police did say the fire was provoked.

Neighbours noticed the blaze around 3 a.m. The children’s grandmother lives on the second story above the burned out house. The morning after the fire, the weight of her loss is still so great she can’t stand.

“The neighbours fought for more than half an hour to open the doors. Once they got in, they couldn’t do anything because there was too much fire. Then the firefighters came and removed one of the kids, already dead. It was very painful for me.”

The bodies of the children were found gathered, hugging their mother.

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