John Shirley reacts to arrest of ex-wife Monserrate Shirley in connection with deadly explosion

John Shirley: 'She blew up our daughter's things'

INDIANAPOLIS - The ex-husband of the woman at the center of the deadly south side explosion said he was surprised to learn about his ex-wife's arrest in connection with the blast.

Monserrate Shirley's former husband, John, who has no connection to the blast, said he is focused on their 12-year-old daughter.

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John Shirley said he was shocked to hear about the arrests of his ex-wife, her live-in boyfriend Mark Ray Leonard and his brother Robert Leonard.

"I don't necessarily think she was part of the act, but she was probably aware of it," John Shirley said. "And she blew up our daughter's things. That, to me, I have a hard time understanding."

John Shirley said he's sorry for the loss of the life and property in the neighborhood he left after the couple split up.

In June 2011, he signed over the rights to 8349 Fieldfare Way for $10 through a Quitclaim Deed. 

A week before the explosion, John Shirley received a text from his daughter saying she was going to a hotel because their furnace wasn't working.

Investigators say that was the same weekend Mark Ray Leonard had planned to spark a blast that failed and was rescheduled for Nov. 10.

"I had no idea what they were dealing with," John Shirley said. "It's totally mind-boggling."

Police are still looking for another person who was in a white van with Robert Leonard on the night a neighbor reported seeing the vehicle and two men in Richmond Hill.

Monserrate Shirley could also be facing sanctions from the state.

State regulators were not ready to comment, but it's likely that the Attorney General's office will ask the Indiana State Board of Nursing to pull Monserrate Shirley's credentials through an emergency suspension.

The board could be asked to take action against her license as early as Jan. 17.   

Last week, 8349 Fieldfare Way was released for debris removal. Until then, it was off limits while evidence was collected.

The neighbors of Richmond Hill have been reaching out to Monserrate and John Shirley's daughter -- some of the neighbors planned a Christmas party for the girl who lost a lot through no fault of her own.

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