FLORA, Ind. -- In the year since a fire claimed the lives of four Flora sisters, several key investigators have resigned their positions leaving behind more questions than answers about who, or what started the deadly fire.
On the morning of November 21, 2016, firefighters were called to the 100 block of E. Columbia Street where a two-story home had gone up in flames.
Four sisters, Keyana, 11, Keyara, 8, Kerrielle, 7, and Kionne, 5 were all killed in the fire. Their mother, Gaylin Rose, was injured trying to rescue them and was flown to the hospital with serious injuries. She was released several days later.
Carroll County Sheriff’s Deputy Drew Yoder, one of the first on the scene, also rushed into the home trying to rescue the girls. After multiple failed attempts, he was pulled from the home by Flora Police Officer Josh Disinger.
Deputy Yoder suffered critical injuries and smoke inhalation and was flown to the hospital. Officer Disinger was treated and released.
From Tragic Accident to Murder
The deadly fire was initially ruled “undetermined” due to the amount of damage the home suffered. The fire, which was believed to have started in the kitchen, was not considered suspicious.
It wasn’t until more than two months later, on January 28, that Indiana State Police fire investigators the fire as re-classified the fire saying it was intentionally set and that accelerants were found in “multiple locations” throughout the structure.
Several months passed in early 2017 without any answers. Indiana State Police said in June, after repeated inquiries from the media that they were questioning “persons of interest” in the investigation but did not have any suspects in the case. They would not elaborate on specifics.
“We have not got a suspect,” said ISP Sgt. Kim Riley said at the time. “Like any other case, we’ve got people we’ve got to track down and see if they’re telling us the truth or not.”
Less than two weeks later, Dennis Randle, a state fire investigator who had been investigating the Flora fire, resigned, after questions arose regarding the specific details of the arson ruling.
That same day, Investigators amended their findings, saying accelerants had not been found in multiple locations in the home – only in one.
On October 28, Barbara Bolling with the NAACP hosted a joint press conference with the girls’ family to announce they were joining the investigation.
“The NAACP is just getting involved but based on information we have, it appears the investigation has been bungled in some kind of way,” Barbara Bolling, member of the NAACP National Board of Directors said that morning. “There are people out there who know and it smells. I know we’re just getting started here, but it smells of a cover-up.”
That same day Indiana State Police held a press conference in response to the NAACP’s comments and concerns.
“Even the notion that there would be even the perception of a cover-up in regards to an investigation involving our little girls is not only unsubstantiated but strikes me at the core of who I am and the agency I represent,” ISP Supt. Doug Carter said to the media. “I’d give my life to find out who killed those little girls.”
Supt. Carter said investigators had not yet heard from the NAACP but would welcome their input.
Since then, two more key investigators in the Flora fire investigation have resigned their positions.
Carroll County Prosecutor Robert Ives announced he would be stepping down at the end of the year - leaving two of Carroll County's biggest cases unsolved - Flora and Delphi.
Then on November 14, Flora Fire Chief Adam Randle resigned from his position with the Flora Fire Department.