Elkhart woman charged in May house fire that killed 2 people

October 22, 2021 GMT

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana woman has been charged with allegedly setting a May house fire that killed a man and an 8-year-old boy.

Genessa Jones of Elkhart appeared for an initial hearing Thursday where she was formally charged with two counts of causing a death while committing arson. An Elkhart County judge entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf and appointed a public defender to represent her.

Jones, 48, was charged after authorities said Dennis Witte and 8-year-old Nyshaun Finch died at a Chicago hospital from smoke inhalation following the May 23 fire, The Elkhart Truth reported.

Firefighters who responded to the two-story Elkhart residence found heavy black smoke coming from the front windows and the rear. They rescued a woman from the roof using a ladder.

That woman told firefighters that her child was still in the home on the first floor. Firefighters searched the residence and quickly found Finch and Witte.

A firefighter was also injured during the response.