Richmond Hill family rebuilds as explosion anniversary nears

Bryan and Heather Hollingsworth are finally moving back into their home in Richmond Hill.
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Thirty homes were torn down after the explosion in the Richmond Hill neighborhood November 10, 2012. So far, about half of the homes have been rebuilt.

Jennifer and Dion Longworth were killed in the blast.

Prosecutors say the Longworth's next-door neighbor, Monserrate Shirley, and her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, planned to destroy Shirley's home and collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from insurance policies. Leonard's brother, Bob Leonard, was also charged with the deadly crime.

A Marion County judge has allowed the Richmond Hill explosion suspects to have separate trials. A pre-trial hearing is set for December, with the trial beginning in June.

The Hollingsworth family was able to move back into their home this past month. Bryan Hollingsworth explained why three bricks are a different color outside his new home.

"This is our daily reminder, when we pull up into the driveway, this is God's grace and mercy that night. He protected us as a family," said Bryan Hollingsworth.

Days after the explosion, code inspectors said the Hollingsworth's house wasn't safe and had to move.

"We didn't have any glasses, so we started collecting the McDonalds cups," said Heather Hollingsworth.

For ten months, the busy family made a three-bedroom apartment their new home. When all four children were back from college, the family said it was a little uncomfortable. Less space was an adjustment for the family. Heather's in-home office bumped right up to her bed.

"It's the first time in 11 months we are seeing some of this stuff," Heather said as she unpacked boxes.

When it was time to build, the couple did not want to leave the Richmond Hill neighborhood.

"It was very therapeutic to be with those that were here that night and lived in the neighborhood. At times, it is difficult to explain to others," said Heather Hollingsworth.

Nearly a year later, the family is still finding precious memories damaged by the explosion.

"We've learned a lot through this. This is just material stuff," Heather said.

"Our faith as a family unit has grown tremendously," said her daughter, Ashleigh Layman.

The couple decided to build a ranch-style home this time around to allow them to stay in the house longer and stay near neighbors they've connected with during this experience.

"The situation, as terrible as it was, has made us get to know our neighbors better," Bryan said.

"There is a peace you can feel that so many people are wanting to keep us safe, to watch for things that don't look right or seem out of place," Heather added.

The Richmond Hill community is planning a private luminary service on Sunday evening to honor Dion and Jennifer Longworth. First responders involved last year have also been invited, along with Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.

Dion and Jennifer Longworth's Community Garden

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