Grandmother Seeks Custody of Fire Survivors

Court records show children's mother, Michele Young, has a previous child-neglect conviction stemming from a 2011 case

Friday, Jan 17, 2014  |  Updated 6:39 AM CDT
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Space Heater Suspected in Fatal House Fire

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3 Children Die in Hammond Fire

Investigators say there were three space heaters in the home

Space Heater Suspected in Fatal House Fire

Three children -- the youngest just six months old -- were killed and three other family members were injured when a space heater ignited clothing and bedding inside a Hammond, Ind., home.
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The grandmother of three children who died in a northwest Indiana house fire last week said she'll seek to gain custody of their two surviving siblings.

Stephanie Pittman said the surviving pair, Isaiah Sammon, 6, and Evian Young, 2, were staying in foster care with an acquaintance of the family.

Court records show their mother, Michele Young, has a previous child-neglect conviction stemming from a 2011 case when she left a 3-year-old child home alone at a different Hammond home.

Pittman said her son-in-law, D'Andre Young, was still in critical condition at John H Stroger Jr Hospital of Cook County on Sunday. She said he’s on a heart monitor and was unable to speak because of a tube in his throat.

Young was badly burned in the Wednesday night fire on the 600 block of Sibley Boulevard, in Hammond, that killed three of his children: 7-month-old Jayden Young, 3-year-old Alexia Young, and 4-year-old Dasani Young.

Michele Young was charged with child neglect in 2011 after a landlord came to a Hammond home on Summer Street and found a 3-year-old child home alone, the Post-Tribune reported. The landlord called police and Young arrived home a short time later, saying she to go pick up her husband at work and didn’t want to wake the child.

Young pleaded guilty to felony child neglect and was sentenced to 18 months, but court records show the sentence was suspended in favor of probation. After Young missed a mandatory hearing, the Lake County Prosecutor’s office filed a petition to revoke the probation. That petition was later withdrawn.

Pittman said her daughter is a stay-at-home mother and that Andre Young worked in seasonal landscaping. Pittman said she’s from California and moved to Hammond in 1996.

Hammond city officials said the lower unit of the house where the Young family lived lacked electrical service, running water and gas for at least six months. Authorities believe a propane-powered space heater ignited clothes and bedding.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained court records that shows Real Estate Equity Solutions of Indiana, LLC was served with a number of citations beginning in May of last year. One resulted in a $2,600 fine.

A Jan 16 court hearing was scheduled on the code violations.

Pittman said the funerals for the three children will be private.

Note: This report was first published Jan. 13, 2014.

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