Real Names: Demetra Rashun, Bernard LaDon, Ericka LaTrice, Jamaal Denaard, Jasmas LaTrice, and Ketrick Jordan
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Dallas, Texas
Date: September 29, 1988
Details: Mollie Jordan was a nurse who lived with her five grandchildren, eighteen-year-old Demetra, sixteen-year-old Bernard, nine-year-old Ericka, six-year-old Jamaal, and ten-year-old Ketrick and her one-year-old great-granddaughter Jasmas, in a home in Dallas, Texas. By 3:30PM on September 28, 1988, all of the children were home from school, so Mollie left to work her night shift at a local hospital. She planned to return at 7AM the next morning. She also carried a beeper so the children could reach her at any time. At around 3AM on September 29, Ketrick awoke to the sound of his brother Bernard talking to someone. He went to the living room and saw his brother talking to unidentified men. The men were asking Bernard about money. When Ketrick came into the room, Bernard sent him back to bed.
A few minutes later, the house was set fire by the two unknown men, who were believed to be drug dealers that Bernard had been getting his drugs from. He had placed furniture in front of the front door and the hallway to the bedrooms in order to keep the men from reaching his siblings. However, this left the children trapped in the burning home. When the fire started, the children broke the windows in order to escape, but the release handle on the burglar bars jammed. The firefighters were unable to get into the house through the doors because of how the furniture was placed. The burglar bars also prevented an easy entrance for the firefighters.
By the time they entered the home ten minutes later, Bernard, Ericka, Jamaal, and Jasmas were all dead, but Ketrick and Demetra were found barely alive. Tragically, Demetra passed away later at the hospital. Mollie left the hospital when a relative told her that the children were dead. She came home to find the place in flames and almost all of her grandchildren dead. Ketrick told authorities what had happened that night. It is believed that the drug dealers had set the fire in an attempt to get Bernard outside. It is also believed that they entered through a window on the front of the house that was not equipped with burglar bars. Now, police are looking for those responsible for the arson fire and the murders.
In the years since the fire, Ketrick has undergone several operations, including the amputation of both legs. Prosthetic legs have allowed him to walk again. After the fire, hundreds of people from the community donated money to the Jordan family. Since then, Ketrick and Mollie have moved to a new home in a better section of Dallas. They still hope that the arson and murders can be solved.
Suspects: A man nicknamed "Curly" was identified as a suspect in the murders. He had supplied drugs to Bernard in the past. He was a black male who was 5'10" and weighed 160 pounds. He allegedly bragged about setting the fire. However, he has never been positively identified or located. Investigators believe that at least two men were involved in the arson.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 25, 1994 episode. Ericka and Demetra's pictures are mixed up in the airing. The incident would later become known as the "Strawberry Trail Fire".
Results: Unresolved. In 2001, investigators received a break in the case when a new witness came forward. The witness had been arrested on unrelated charges when he admitted to investigators that he had helped dispose of gasoline-soaked clothes and other evidence on the night of the 1988 fire. The witness, who was fifteen at the time of the fire, claimed that he was a lookout for Jamaican drug dealers in South Oak Cliff. He gave street names for three suspects: "Freddy Krueger", "Curly Diamond", and "Silky". As a result of this information, investigators re-interviewed several witnesses, who began to name possible suspects. Other suspects were nicknamed "Lupe", "Coolie", and "Soldier".
One witness claimed that Freddy Krueger and Lupe had beat him and forced him to take them to the Jordan home just a few days before the fire. The witness also heard that Bernard had "ripped them off". Another witness claimed that on the night of the fire, the two drug dealers were talking about getting revenge on "B.J." which was Bernard's nickname. Shortly after the fire, the witness saw the two again. He claimed that they were laughing and joking about the sounds of people burning to death. Yet another witness, a former girlfriend of Lupe, asked him if he had set the fire, and he said that he did. He also said that it was done to settle a debt.
The drug dealer known as "Curly" and "Freddy Krueger" was eventually identified as Curly Diamond. He was also known as Milton Lee Hunter Jr., David Broadbelt and David Wilson. Investigators learned that he was killed in a New York subway shoot out in 1992, which ironically remains unsolved. According to investigators, he was the "mastermind" behind the arson fire.
The drug dealer known as "Lupe" was identified by several witnesses as Vincent Lamont Thomas; he had been questioned initially but was let go. In 2001, he was arrested and charged with capital murder in the case. Unfortunately, prosecutors felt that they did not have enough evidence to bring him to trial, and the charges were dropped in August of 2005. However, the prosecutors noted that he can be arrested again if new evidence surfaces.
Investigators identified "Silky" and learned that he had also died in an unrelated shooting. They also identified "Coolie" and "Soldier" but have been unable to locate them. The police now consider the case closed, but unresolved.
- Three children, two teens killed
- Five children killed in Dallas house fire
- Firemen Slowed By Burglar Bars, Blocked Doorway
- Loss of legs in fire hasn't destroyed teen's spirit
- Out Of The Ashes
- Memories run deep in Oak Cliff arson case
- The 1988 Strawberry Trail Fire
- Demetra, Bernard, Ericka, Jaamal, and Jasma at Find a Grave