Fort Wayne police and the Allen County prosecutor's office said today they were closing "by exceptional means" a 1988 triple homicide case in which three children were killed, saying the suspect they would have charged with three counts of murder died from a drug overdose in December 2020.
In a statement, police said the suspect, Jarvis Jefferson, also known as Rohi Israel, threw a Molotov cocktail through the front window of a Central Drive residence on May 21, 1988.
The resulting fire killed Jermaine Mitchell, 11, Genayle Mitchell, 5, and Durell Mitchell, 3, and injured several other Mitchell family members, the statement said.
"The Fort Wayne Police Department believes that there is overwhelming evidence and charges would have been (filed) against Jarvis Jefferson, AKA Rohi Isreal for three counts of Murder," it said.
Police said detectives were approached by the victim's father wishing to discuss the case, and began an intensive review of the case and its details.
They said they spoke with several witnesses and former law enforcement officers who had worked on the case, analyzing evidence, statements, interviews and crime-scene details.
Detectives "identified a suspect who was ultimately identified by family members and friends to have been the suspect who threw the Molotov Cocktail into the Victim's home through the front window," the statement said.
Jefferson died from a drug overdose Dec. 28, 2020, police said. They provided no other details about his death.
Police said they drafted a case review and submitted it to the prosecutor's office for its review.
For more on this story, visit www.journalgazette.net later today or see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette.