An explosion in Indianapolis that killed a young couple and left many homes uninhabitable is now being investigated as a homicide, according to authorities. Police are searching for a white van that was seen in the area on the day of the blast.
The announcement of the criminal case was made shortly after the funerals Monday of John Dion Longworth, 36, and his wife Jennifer, 34, who lived next door to the house where investigators believe the Nov. 10 blast originated.
"We are turning this into a criminal homicide investigation," Indianapolis Homeland Security Director Gary Coons told reporters. He said the focus of the investigation was "determining if there are individuals who may be responsible for this explosion and fire," according to CBSNews.com.
Officials did not respond to questions and made no mention if they had any suspects in the case. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information.
Natural gas was thought to be the cause of the massive blast, and the owner of the house where it occurred blamed a faulty furnace, but investigators have yet to determine a specific cause. A couple who lived in the house was at a casino and their daughter was at a friend’s house at the time of the blast.
Initial estimates on the amount of damage caused were $3.5 million. That figure has risen to $4.4 million as workers comb through the rubble.
Residents in the area said the scene after the blast was like a war zone.
"There is a search for truth and there is a search for justice,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said during a press conference, after he attended the Longworth funeral. A CBS television station in Indianapolis reported that the turnout for the funeral was so great that cars overflowed the church parking lot where it was held.
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