COLUMBIA CITY — A second arrest was made this week in connection with the explosion of a suspected meth lab in a rural Whitley County mobile home park that killed a woman in December of last year.
Joshua B. Angus, 25, of Fort Wayne was arrested and charged Monday with four counts stemming from the Dec. 3, 2010 explosion that killed 24-year-old Alecia Stine at Miami Village Trailer Park on Old Trail Road east of Columbia City.
A second man, Wade Burns, was charged in February.
Angus is charged with attempting to manufacture methamphetamine, a class B felony, reckless homicide, a class C felony, false informing, a class B misdemeanor and failure to appear, a class A misdemeanor.
Burns’ charges were reckless homicide and attempt to manufacture.
According to a police report, a 911 call was received at around 1 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2010.
Police arriving at the scene were told that the smell of chemicals inside the mobile home at Miami Village’s Lot 65 was overwhelming.
Firefighters from Union Township donned ventilation gear to clear the residence so officials could begin their investigation and so the body of Stine could be removed.
Whitley County Sheriff’s Department Det. Sgt. Charles Vogely reported that testimony from witnesses and suspects led him in circles until he received what he determined was credible information from two men who were nearby and responded to the incident.
In addition, the police report indicates their actions possibly saved the lives of two children who were left inside the trailer after the explosion.
In interviews with Burns and Angus, Vogely learned that Stine had shut herself in the bathroom and was shaking a vodka bottle containing a mixture of various ingredients including pseudoephedrine.
Burns opened the door to the bathroom just seconds before the bottle Stine was shaking exploded. Burns told Vogely he was hit by flying glass and chemicals.
Burns and Angus both fled the scene, leaving two children in the trailer and Stine, who was suffering from what would become a fatal puncture wound to the neck.
Burns fled the trailer park and Angus ran to a nearby trailer where he told a neighbor and a friend of that neighbor what had happened, according to Vogely’s report.
Those two men reportedly returned to the scene and removed the children. Stine was still alive when the men arrived.
The neighbor took the children to safety and the friend, who had avoided talking to Vogely for more than three weeks because of his own brushes with law in Noble County, returned to the scene.
He told Vogely that Stine asked him to get help. He told the detective he went to a nearby trailer and told a woman to call the police. He told the investigator he went back to his friend’s house to check on the children and intended to return to the scene to check on the injured woman when he discovered the police had arrived.
Angus had initially told police he was not at the scene when the incident occurred, which prompted the charge of false reporting.