CHICAGO (CBS) — A 63-year-old man has been charged with arson and first-degree murder, accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed a mother and her daughter last month in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
The victims’ family said they were trying to help the man, Reginald Brown, while he was down on his luck. But now, he is accused of setting a fire that killed the very people who cared for him.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: Statewide Coronavirus Cases Drop For Second Consecutive Week
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, we were on the scene the day after the fire happened. Now, the home is boarded up.
Family knew whom police were looking for, and after days of searching, they got their man.
Brown was arrested in the South Shore neighborhood on Tuesday morning, after he was identified as the person who started a fire on Feb. 28 at a home in the 8600 block of South Hermitage Avenue, knowing there were people inside at the time.
The fire burned hot and fast and killed 34-year-old Ieashia Ford and her daughter, Porche Stinson Ford. Family said Porche was 10.
Four other adult relatives, two men and two women, were taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and are expected to recover, according to the Fire Department.
“There’s always going to be more grief and anger,” said family member Johnnie Moore. “We’re in a place right now where we’re all mad and distressed.”
“I call my mama just to see if she’s going to answer the phone, and when she don’t answer the phone, I just cry,” said Tieashia Stinson, Ieashia Ford’s daughter and Porsha’s sister. “My mama is the only thing I’ve got, and my little sister, she gone too.”
Last week, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said an autopsy determined Ieashia and Porche died from “inhalation injuries due to inhalation of products of combustion due to house fire due to arson.” Both deaths were ruled homicides.
Family members have said from the beginning that they were concerned the fire was intentionally set. They said Brown turned on Ford after she reached out with generosity and charity.READ MORE: Judge Rules Prosecutors Can't Show Kyle Rittenhouse Link To Proud Boys At Trial In Kenosha Shootings
“They caught him,” said Ford’s cousin, Felicia White. “God’s good.”
“Every single day, people are getting madder and madder how it went down and how it happened,” Moore said.
“He gets to see another day,” Tieashia said. “My mama and sister don’t get to see another day.”
The family said Brown came into their lives only about a month ago. They claim he told Ford he had a dire health condition and out of the kindness of her heart, Ford became friends with him.
But that friendship ended after family said Brown made an accusation of theft that turned into a fatal arson investigation.
“He was saying that my other cousin took his wallet, so that’s why he set the house on fire,” White said. “I don’t know what was going through his brain.”
“He didn’t care who all was up in there,” Tieashia said. “You killed two people that didn’t’ have nothing to do with your wallet.”
“I hope he never gets out – I mean, for Porche, she’s innocent. Her and Ieashia was innocent. Ten years old – she don’t know what she did,” White said. “I hope he get what he deserves.”
Family members said Brown made threats to others in the family too.
“When that man came over here, he was threatening to burn my building down,” family member Mona Ford said.MORE NEWS: Hundreds Of Cars Roll Through Downtown For Second Night To Celebrate Mexican Independence Day
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help the surviving children. The funeral for Ford and daughter Porche is set for Friday.