A Vigil, A Memorial and More Questions About Deadly Arson That Killed 2 Brothers

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LAFLIN -- Two brothers died after an intentionally set fire at their home on Oakwood Drive in Laflin Wednesday night.

Erik Dupree, 16, and Devon Major, 12, died from breathing in too much smoke, according to a coroner’s report.

Now a small and growing memorial of flowers are outside the house.

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe that this happened because I've walked past this house over 100 times. It just broke my heart, I just can't stop thinking about it,” said Haley Rudofker, who lives in the neighborhood and brought a bouquet to the house.

After dark, a small group of neighbors gathered for a candlelight vigil to pray for the family.

"We stand together in support of anyone in need and in dire times and that we care, we're here to show that we care,” said neighbor Anita Yurek.

A third brother, an 8-year-old, was found unresponsive in the house but was resuscitated by a state trooper.

That child is hospitalized.

Investigators said the deadly fire was intentionally set, but just before that happened, they got a call for help from one of the brothers.

"911 received a call from a juvenile at 60 Oakwood Drive, Laflin who reported that an individual known to the family, but not supposed to be present was on the back porch. The juvenile indicated that he and his brothers were in a bedroom located on the second floor and that the individual was outside,” said Sam Sanguedolce from the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office.

Preston Bonnett was arrested and is locked up on unrelated charges, but investigators say he is a person of interest in this deadly fire.

According to court records, Bonnett briefly stayed at the house on Oakwood Drive in the summer before being thrown out.

A few weeks ago, he was accused of vandalizing the home, throwing a bottle through a window.

The investigation continues and more charges may be on the way.

In the meantime, people in the neighborhood keep trying to make sense of it all.

"I'm wondering why it took so long for somebody to come up. I mean at 7:30 at night if they smelled smoke or anything. There’s a lot of questions that still have to be answered,” said Andy Kosik of Laflin.


  • LaDora Jenkins

    I knew Erik from Xbox, though I never met him, he and I was very close and usually spoke to each other everyday. He just turned 16 this month. I am going to miss him so much, I can’t believe this has happen. He told me many times about this man who was threating their family. I can’t believe he would do anything to hurt those boys. Zeek, Devin, and Erik. WHERE WAS THEIR MOTHER!

    I googled Erik’s name after not hearing from him for so long. He was so scared sometimes, that he slept with a knife. Especially after this guy broke his bedroom window! I JUST CAN’T BELIEVE THIS. I want the authorities to contact me so I can tell them more.

    • Laurie

      Laflin doesn’t have a police dept, that’s my concern too, what took the State Police so long to respond when a juvenile places a 911 call!

  • 🤔

    It’s definitely a terrible tragedy. Hopefully justice will be served. Those two boys that died and the one in the hospital deserve justice. They way it looks, he’s guilty. Why was he there if he wasn’t suppose to be? It’s just horrible!

  • 🤔

    Where’s Darnell with his comment? It seems he only has an opinion when it’s about white people. This time it’s a black man and he has nothing to say.

  • Tony

    “I’m wondering why it took so long for somebody to come…” Well, remember when Laflin voted to disband it’s police dept a few years back to save money? Now, instead of having an emergency response in about a minute to anywhere within the borough, you wait for State Police to respond. You reap what you sow. Hopefully the residents of Laflin enjoy the Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiatos they buy with the couple of bucks they saved from not paying for a local Police Dept.

    • Lloyd Schmucatelli

      God wasn’t with them when the flames were ripping…..

      Strange or procrastinating god at the very least.

      • Get it together

        God sure was with these boys, maybe teach mommy a lesson who wasn’t protecting her children and actually living that church goer life that she faked

      • 🤔

        God is always with everybody. It’s our own choice to receive Him or not. God certainly doesn’t procrastinate, we as humans beings do.

      • Lloyd Schmucatelli

        Yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it 100,000 million times.

        One wants to have hope.

      • Bill K.

        God kept this arsonist’s kind waaaay far away in Africa. Then we had to go import them as slaves. Should have kept them like that or shipped them all back at the end of the civil war. THEN this buck wouldn’t have had the chance to do what he did.

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