WSAZ Investigates | Searching for Justice
WHEELERSBURG, Ohio (WSAZ) - In August 2018, we reported about a man, Leroy Seeley, who died in a house fire with his 2-year-old son at their home in Wheelersburg.
WSAZ’s Marlee Pinchok has new information from investigators who now believe the deadly fire was no accident. They say you, our viewers, could help heat up this cold case.
For Leroy Seeley Sr., a picture is the closest he can get to holding his grandson in his arms, as that laugh and smile are gone forever.
“It’s indescribable, unbelievable. I keep thinking he’ll come home,” Seeley said.
Better known as L.J., Leroy Seeley Jr. was just 2 years old when investigators say he died in a fire with his father. It happened at their mobile home along North Street in Wheelersburg.
“You could not open the door without feeling the heat from the flames,” the grandfather said.
He said when he saw the fire next door, he knew his son and grandson were likely inside and frantically called 911.
“It’s your family, it’s your blood, it’s your family. There’s nothing I could do,” he said.
Although a cleaned-up yard now sits where the remnants of their home used to be, the scene is burned into the memory of those closest to the Seeley family.
After years of hoping and searching for answers, investigators say they have new information in the case -- with reason to believe the fatal fire was intentionally set.
Josh Hobbs, the chief of Fire and Explosion Investigations Bureau with the state Fire Marshal’s Office, said the motive isn’t clear at this time but confirms there is a person of interest. Investigators ask for your help connecting the remaining dots.
“I think there was a specific reason this fire was set, and I do believe the outcome of the fire may not have been the intention of the person doing it,” Hobbs said. “But nonetheless it was the result.”
WSAZ’s Pinchok asked how people could feel comfortable coming forward with that information.
Hobbs responded, “I think that we are comfortable with the person of interest we have, that the public can come forward without any risk of feeling that there would be harm or threatened in any way. I think now is an ideal time for them to do that, and I believe there are multiple people that know what happened here, and now is a great time for them to come forward, and I think it’s the right thing to do. When you have a death not only of an adult, but a death of a small, innocent child and you have information, I think that there is an internal obligation to come forward for something like that.”
Although there is a reward offered for on the table for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible, Hobbs said the ultimate reward is justice.
“Not that you wouldn’t be motivated to seek justice for the adult, but the innocence of a child motivates you even more to seek justice,” Hobbs said.
Seeley Sr., the grandfather, said, “I hope somebody does know something that they would please tell ... you know? If you do know something out there, you’re talking about a little baby and my son and beautiful grandson, that somebody did do something. I hope somebody does have the nerve to come forward and say something.”
While investigators do have a person of interest, they’re not sharing that person’s name at this time. But they say the person knew the Seeley family.
If you have information to share about the case, please contact the Fire and Explosion Investigations Department at the state Fire Marshal’s Office at 800-589-2728.
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