Police in Chicago have accused a 63-year-old man of intentionally setting the fire that killed 34-year-old mother Ieashia Ford and her 10-year-old daughter, Porsche.
Reginald Brown was arrested Tuesday morning on one count of arson and two counts of first-degree murder.
Brown has yet to enter pleas to the charges, and it was unclear Thursday if he had an attorney.
The Feb. 28 fire gutted a single-family home in Chicago’s Gresham section, leaving four other people injured, according to authorities.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the mother and daughter died from homicide caused by “inhalation injuries due to inhalation of products of combustion due to house fire due to arson.”
Relatives said investigators told them Ford and her daughter were asleep when the early morning fire started.
“She went back in to get her daughter,” said Ford’s cousin, Darryl Fields, speaking to WLS-TV. “They passed away in the doorway and she had the baby in her arms.”
Ieashia is survived by another daughter, two sons and a grandchild.
Relatives told WBBM-TV Ford had agreed to help Brown, who was down on his luck. They said Brown entered their lives about a month ago, and Ford took him in after he’d been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.
Things between them soured, though, after Brown accused someone in the home of theft, relatives said.
“He was saying that my other cousin took his wallet, so that’s why he set the house on fire,” Ford’s cousin, Felicia White, alleged. “I don’t know what was going through his brain.”
White continued: “I hope he never gets out — I mean, for Porsche, she’s innocent. Her and Ieashia was innocent. Ten years old — she don’t know what she did. I hope he get what he deserves.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched online to assist Ford’s other children.