After Months of No Progress, Arrests in 'Heinous' Denver Case

3 teen boys face murder charges after house fire that killed family of 5
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2021 9:35 AM CST
3 Teens Arrested After Denver Fire That Killed Family
Abou Diol holds his head by a family picture of his brother Djibril Diol after a news conference by police at the Denver Police Crime Laboratory on Wednesday.   (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via AP)

Three teenage boys have been arrested in the Denver house fire that killed a family of five in August, after months without progress. Authorities say the two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old face 28 criminal counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder with extreme indifference, arson, and burglary, per the New York Times. The news came at a Wednesday press conference, where authorities declined to comment on a motive or say how the minors had been identified. But "we have a good understanding of the hows and whys on this," Police Chief Paul Pazen said. Authorities noted there was no evidence of a hate crime. The Colorado chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations had pushed police to investigate that possibility while supplying $10,000 of a $50,000 award for information, per the AP.

Early in the case, police pointed to three masked and hooded suspects, seen on surveillance video in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood where the fire was set in the early hours of Aug. 5. Immigrants from Senegal—Djibril Diol, 29; his partner, Adja Diol, 23; their 22-month-old daughter, Khadija; Djibril's sister, Hassan Diol, 25; and her infant daughter, Hawa Baye—died in the blaze. Three others escaped by jumping from the home's second floor. "We are grateful" for the arrests but "are still in pain" and "know it's not going to bring these beautiful people back," family spokesman Papa Dia tells the AP. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he'd spoken with Senegal Consul General Elhadji Ndao about the arrests. Hancock calls the fire "one of the most heinous crimes I've ever seen or witnessed in our city, as mayor or otherwise," Hancock said. (More murder stories.)

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