Four Arrested After Exploding Stove Kills 8-Year-Old Boy Near Muldrow
SEQUOYAH COUNTY, Oklahoma - Deputies in Sequoyah County have arrested four people after a child died in an explosion. The Sequoyah County Sheriff says a stove blew up because one of the suspects was playing with explosives.
Debris from the stove hit an 8-year-old boy in the head and also injured his stepfather, Kodi Branham.
Federal agents are at the home located just north of Muldrow, investigating the death.
Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart said someone loaded two pounds of Tannerite, an exploding target, into an old stove on the front lawn and shot at it with a high powered rifle.
Lockhart said the stove blew up and the front door of the stove flew off, hitting and injuring the 8-year-old boy. He later died at the hospital.
Neighbors say they heard a lot of people gathering at the home Sunday, and when they heard the explosion they saw something in the air.
Bill Edwards and his wife were shocked when they heard a loud boom from the neighbors.
"It went right straight over the tree tops," Bill said of an old stove. "It went way up there."
Family friend Michelle Jones says she can't believe what happened.
"The family is a good friend of mine, and I'm heartbroken that they had to lose a child - they need the help. They need support and I'm backing them 100 percent," she said.
Sheriff's deputies arrested 22-year-old Brandon Martin on complaints of manslaughter. Lockhart says Martin shot at the tannerite in the stove.
"It's tragic enough that you've got an 8-year-old that's passed away, but you've got adults now lying to us about what's happened," the sheriff said.
Deputies arrested Martin's parents: Fred and Mary Martin, and a man named Paul Griffin for obstructing their investigation.
"It's not an accident. Any adult should know whether to put children in danger or adults in danger," said Sheriff Ron Lockhart, Sequoyah County.
The sheriff says the ATF is now investigating because the Tannerite was used as a bomb.