Prosecutors reviewing twin 3-year-old boys' fire deaths after police finish investigation


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LAFAYETTE, Indiana — The Tippecanoe County prosecutor's office is reviewing results of a police investigation into a house fire near Lafayette that killed twin 3-year-old brothers to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

Deputies pulled Landon and Liam Abbott from a burning rural home southeast of Lafayette on April 5. The boys died soon afterward. Autopsies confirmed they died as a result of the fire. The state fire marshal has ruled the cause of the fire as officially undetermined, Coroner Donna Avolt told the Journal & Courier (http://on.jconline.com/1khDx9a).

The boys' father, Brandon Abbott, told police the boys started the fire while he was asleep on the couch and he couldn't find them when he awoke. He says he believes his sons were hiding in the house.

Sheriff's deputies found drug paraphernalia, including scales, weights and baggies containing plant material; a .22-caliber handgun; boxes of ammunition for various type of guns; and evidence of a marijuana growing operation that could have caused significant power usage, according to documents filed in Tippecanoe Superior Court.

Brandon Abbott pleaded guilty in 2011 to possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance, according to Clinton County court records. A sentencing report in the 2011 case stated that investigators found marijuana packaging materials, scales and other items related to the production of marijuana in his Michigantown house.

As a convicted felon, Abbott is prohibited from possessing firearms.

The twins' parents separated last July but had not divorced, and custody of the boys was unresolved. Layla Abbot, the twins' mother, said she blamed her estranged husband for the boys' death while they were in his care.

She said she received a court order in February notifying her she had to allow the twins to spend time with their father, but the custody issue remained open as of March 31, according to documents in Clinton Superior Court.


Information from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com

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