GARY, Ind. — A 31-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder and arson after three people were found dead Friday following a house fire.
The fire broke out around 11 a.m. at a home near 20th Avenue and Noble Street in Gary.
Following an investigation, Gary police arrested Reginald Carter on suspicion of murder and arson.
According to court documents, Carter was taken into custody after terminating an interview with police Friday night.
Police said Carter lived with his girlfriend, Yoasha Carter, and the two had an argument the day of the fire.
A 9mm shell casing was reportedly found inside a bedroom following the fire. After Carter terminated the interview with police, authorities took articles of his clothing, according to court documents.
A K9 trained with arson investigations reportedly determined traces of accelerant on Carter’s clothes.
During the investigation, police interviewed the mother of victim Yoasha Carter. She told them on the morning of the fire, Reginald Carter took her to work. Shortly after clocking into work, court documents state she received a call from one of her daughters saying the house is on fire.
The mother then said she attempted to call her daughter, Yoasha Carter, and sister, Nefretiri Jones, but there was no answer.
She then called Reginald Jones and he said, “I don’t know nothin’ about that”after hearing of the fire, according to court documents.
The mother later called Carter again to tell him his girlfriend didn't answer and he replied that Yoasha had gotten into a car with some other man and that he was headed to Chicago with their baby, documents state.
The mother told police Yoasha Carter informed her that Reginald had allegedly choked her until she was unconscious twice.
“If my daughter is shot, then he killed my sister and my nephew to keep them quiet,” the mother reportedly told police in an interview.
According to the autopsy, all three were shot to death before the fire was started.
Yoasha Carter and and Dwayne Jones were both reportedly shot in the head. Nefreteri Jones was found with a wound in the upper left shoulder. The coroner’s office said the bodies were burned so badly, identifications had to be confirmed through dental records.
The autopsy determined no soot was found in the victim’s tracheas, indicating they were already dead when the fire was started.
On Christmas Eve in 2016, Carter’s sister told WGN News that Yoasha Carter escaped an apartment fire that killed two of her children and their cousin.
Reginald Carter was charged with three counts of murder and one count of arson.