BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A house where a couple was killed in Battle Creek caught fire early Sunday morning, family members tell News 8.
It happened around 4:15 a.m. on Post Avenue near Marjorie Street.
The couple, Joey Soule and Jackie Lepird, were killed Oct. 7, authorities say. They were missing for more than a week before their bodies were found.
They rented the upstairs unit of the home. Their landlord, Chad Reed, who lived on the first floor of the home, confessed in their murders on Thursday. He is being held at the Calhoun County Jail and is expected to be formally charged on Monday.
The Battle Creek Fire Department says when they arrived to the scene Sunday morning, the front of the house was on fire. Several fire crews worked to put the fire out before performing safety searches. Officials say they were on the scene for over an hour.
The home was not occupied at the time and no one was injured, fire officials say.
“All that we had in this house is all that we had left of Jackie,” her sister Trinity Middleton said. “All of her stuff was in here. It’s gone. There might be some stuff that we can save, but they will be smoke damaged. But at this point I would give anything to just have one thing of hers.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. Authorities in Battle Creek are not saying the incident is suspicious at this time and are continuing to investigate.
Sunday night, family and friends of the victims held a vigil next to the charred structure. They brought balloons, candles and blew fireworks as they reminisced about their loss.
“They were perfect for each other. She was the sweetest girl you’d ever want to meet. He was the most fun person that would ever come in the room,” said Jimi Soule as he spoke about his brother Joey and his girlfriend Jackie.
The families say this past week has been devastating and the fire leaves them with more questions than they previously had.
“We’re really disappointed and upset with the person who did this because now our pieces are gone of what we had left of Jackie,” said Trinity Middleton, sister of Lepird.
The families of the victims left candles in front of the home that spelled out R.I.P. They say the coming days will be hard knowing their loved ones won’t return.
“How are we going to start new again? Now our whole lives have changed in a very dramatic way and for now, we just need to figure out how we’re going to do this together,” said Middleton.
Family members tell News 8 a second vigil is planned for Lepird on Thursday at Leila Arboretum.