DENVER (CBS4) – After nearly six months, Denver police this week announced the arrests of three juveniles connected to a fire that killed five members of a Senegalese family, including two children.
“It’s a good day but not a good day. We can’t get our family members back,” a family member told CBS4 after a police news conference on Wednesday.READ MORE: WANTED: Jamar Harris Sr. Accused Of Attacking And Kidnapping Ex-Girlfriend
The fire in August of 2020 in Green Valley Ranch was believed to be arson from the start, and investigators would eventually release frightening photos of a masked trio they believed were involved in setting the fire.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen says thanks to incredible police work by multiple agencies, they arrested two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old male for the horrendous crime. Each one of them he says are facing significant charges.
“Five counts of first degree murder, five counts of murder in the first degree extreme indifference and three counts of attempted murder,” he said.
While few details about what led to the arrest were released, police say based on current evidence they do believe the crime was reliably motivated. That news was a relief to friends of the family and the Green Valley Ranch community.READ MORE: 'I Prayed So Hard': Pregnant Colorado Mom Talks About Fighting COVID In The ICU
“For us as a community in the healing process this is a start. Just knowing these people who did this horrendous crime are off the streets, it’s the start of a healing process,” one family friend said.
Papa Dia, who has been speaking on behalf of the family throughout the case, says those closest to the victims have waited for this day, but too many questions remain unanswered for there to be any type of closure.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done. … We are relieved arrests have been made. It’s a good start. We look forward to finding out more about the motive,” Dia said.
In addition to the the murder charges, the teenagers were also arrested on charges of burglary, assault and arson.MORE NEWS: After Small Planes Collided Over Denver Area, Woman Saw Damaged Aircraft Coming Down And 'Just Ran'
Sources close to the investigation say a fourth person was also arrested, an adult woman believed to be the sister of one of the suspects. Denver police would not discuss any additional arrests.