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Man arrested in connection with deadly fire near Bloomington

Man arrested in connection with deadly fire
Posted at 7:50 PM, Apr 06, 2018

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A Monroe County man was arrested Thursday in California in connection with a deadly fire near Bloomington.

Noel Montes Cazares, 49, is facing preliminary charges of murder, arson, neglect of a dependent and obstruction of justice.

The body of Lerae Bush, 85, was found inside her home in the 5600 block of Handy Road following a fire on Feb. 10.

A man told investigators his name was Giovanni Bush and he hadn't been able to get his mother out of the house.

Documents found at the scene belonging to Noel Montes Cazares, along with a photo that possibly appeared to be Giovanni Bush, led investigators to question his true identity.

Family members later told detectives that to their knowledge, Lerae Bush never had children.

Investigators also found that Lerae Bush suffered from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and was dependent on Noel Montes Cazares for food, transportation and clothing. The home where Bush died had no functioning utilities.

"This was in a very rural area of Indiana in Monroe County. We do know that the utilities had been disconnected to the home. The gas utility had been disconnected although there was power to the home. The home was, I would say, not a well-kept home. It was obviously rural and aged so that was a challenge also. The fire spread through the home fairly rapidly," said Jim Greeson, State Fire Marshal.

Neighbors told detectives they were surprised anyone lived in the house.

According to state police, the investigation later revealed a trust agreement in the name of Lerae Bush with one beneficiary, which had been removed and replaced with the name of Giovanni Bush.

Due to conflicting statements from Cazares, witness information and evidence, an arrest warrant was issued Thursday in Monroe County.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department in California later arrested Cazares. Police believe he fled to California to try and claim Bush's property and estate.

State police have begun the process of extradition.