Kansas

Man arrested after allegedly starting fire that killed mum and 2 daughters

 

A woman and two children were killed in a Kansas home fire that authorities believe was started intentionally by a survivor.

Kyle J. Tyler, 32, of Holton, was arrested and booked shortly after he was released from the hospital for questioning following the Jan. 20 fire in Topeka, according to a news release from city communications director Gretchen Spikers.

He was charged with three counts of first-degree murder committed in the commission of another felony, aggravated arson, and aggravated child endangerment.

Genny L. Fitzpatrick, 30, Peyton L. Tyler, 9, and Kourtney K. Tyler, 1, have been identified as the victims killed in the fire, the release said.

When firefighters arrived just before 5 a.m., the two-story house was completely engulfed in flames and heavy smoke. Four people were inside the house when the fire broke out, authorities said.

An adult and a minor were rescued from the home and taken to a local hospital, where the child died, the statement said. A second adult and a child were pronounced dead at the scene.

Topeka Public Schools confirmed the death of the 9-year-old girl in a parental statement obtained by WIBW.

“It is with great sadness that we share Peyton Tyler, a fourth grader at Lowman Hill who died this morning in a fire at her home. Peyton has attended Lowman Hill since first grade. Peyton was a student who had many friends and is known for her positivity and joyful spirit. She was loved by many and will be missed by all students and staff at Lowman Hill,” the statement read in part.

According to Fitzpatrick and Tyler’s respective Facebook pages, the two were in a relationship. The city spokesperson tells PEOPLE that officials cannot specify Kyle L. Tyler’s connection to the victims, saying only that the incident was “domestic in nature.”

A GoFundMe campaign was also launched to help the family with funeral expenses.

Kyle L. Tyler is being held at the Shawnee County Department of Corrections, authorities said. There is no bond listed for him.

It is unclear whether he has filed a statement or hired a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or go to thehotline.org. All calls are free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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