UPDATE: 4 Children Killed, Suspect Charged in Illinois Fire

PERCY, Ill. (KMOX) – An alleged arson fire at a house in southwestern Illinois killed four children Friday morning.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, Randolph County State’s Attorney Jeremy Walker identified the dead as Ethan Owen, 12, Kailey Owen, 9, and twin brothers Brandon and Landon Owen, both 5.

Walker later confirmed that Derrick Twardoski, 33, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder for allegedly setting the blaze.


Derrick Twardoski

Randolph County Coroner Randy Dudenbostel said that in addition to the fatalities, at least one other person at the house was injured and taken to a hospital. Police tell KMOX News that other people, including parents of the children killed, were in the home at the time of the blaze and got out safely.

The fire badly damaged a two-story home in the 800 block of West Almond in Percy, a village in a rural area that is home to about 1,000 people.

State Police and the State Fire Marshal are aiding the Randolph County Sheriff’s and State’s Attorney offices in the investigation.

Percy is about 60 miles southeast of St. Louis.


(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/05/13/percy-arson-suspect-makes-first-court-appearance/ Percy Arson Suspect Makes First Court Appearance « CBS St. Louis

    […] IL (KMOX) – The man accused of setting a fire that killed four children in Percy, Illinois heads to court for the first time […]

  • http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/01/24/dna-dispute-slows-prosecution-in-percy-deadly-fire/ DNA Dispute Slows Prosecution in Percy Deadly Fire « CBS St. Louis

    […] CHESTER, Ill. (AP) – A dispute over DNA testing is slowing prosecution of a southern Illinois man who is accused of setting a house fire that killed four children. […]

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