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Fort Wayne Police, Allen County Prosecutor close 24-year-old cold case

Fort Wayne Police and the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office announced the closure of a 24-year-old triple homicide on Wednesday.

According to a press release, investigators believe that Jarvis Jefferson, also known as Rohi Isreal, threw a fire bomb into a home in the 2900 block of Central Drive on May 21, 1988.

The Molotov Cocktail started an intense fire that killed three children–Jermaine Mitchell, age 11, Genayle Mitchell, age 5, and Durell Mitchell, age 3. Additional members of the family also suffered serious injuries.

The crime remained unsolved until the victims’ father approached detectives with information about a potential suspect.

Fort Wayne Police Department’s Cold Case/Homicide unit reopened it, and re-interviewed witnesses, examined the old evidence, and spoke with the original investigators, according to the release.

They submitted a case review to the Allen County Prosecutor’s Office identifying Jefferson as the suspect, and noted that he died from a drug overdose in late December 2020.

The case is now considered closed due to “exceptional means.”

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.