Search warrants issued in south side explosion


There are still no arrests in the investigation of the explosion that killed two people and nearly leveled a south side neighborhood.

Two people were questioned last night - one of them, Bob Leonard, is a relative of Mark Leonard, the boyfriend of Monserrate Shirley, the homeowner whose house was at the center of the devastating blast.

Police raided a trailer on South Rybolt in the Mars Hill mobile home park where Bob Leonard lives. Witnesses say authorities searched his trailer, then found Leonard walking down a nearby street.

Monserrate Shirley and Mark Leonard were living in the house that exploded, but had left town for the weekend before the house blew up, killing the couple who lived next door.

We've also learned that a white van has been impounded by investigators to be searched for evidence possibly related to the explosion.

Gary Coons, the director of the Indianapolis division of the Department of Homeland Security, says no arrests have been made in the investigation.

"The investigation is still ongoing and we are still processing the scene. No arrest (sic) have been made at this time," Coons said in a release Tuesday evening.

Eyewitness Brad Horton reported that a SWAT team arrived in his neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

"They came down the road in two tactical trucks and pulled in this yard right here," Horton said, indicating the mobile home where Bob Leonard lives. "I was walking down the street and three guys with guns said 'Get in your house!' and we all got in the house and, uh, just watched from there."

Horton said two officers took Bob Leonard into custody and they went inside the trailer looking for others.

Much of the investigation into the explosion has centered on a white van. Horton said that Bob Leonard had a white van parked outside his mobile home for nearly two weeks.

"He said it was his brother's van, 'cause he came over and talked to us. We seen the police here previously before that and he said it was his brother's van. Didn't say his name or anything, but it was sitting here for about two weeks and it's been gone for about a week and a half now," Horton told Eyewitness News

Police have said that Mark Leonard owns a white van. They also issued a plea for anyone who might have seen a white van in the Richmond Hill neighborhood on the weekend of the explosion.

13 Investigates has learned Mark Leonard has an extensive criminal history, dating back to the 1980s. Police arrested him in 1992 for dealing marijuana. He was also convicted of theft, receiving stolen property and resisting law enforcement.

Leonard faced jail and prison time for serious felonies in 2002, including stalking and violating probation. In 2007, he made a plea deal on an intimidation charge.

In other developments Tuesday, Eyewitness News partners at The Indianapolis Star reported that a source close to the investigation believes that natural gas was intentionally released into the home on Fieldfare Way that is at the center of the investigation, and that a spark ignited the gas - possibly from a remote source.

Experienced private fire investigators tell Eyewitness News that the damage appears to be too extensive and far reaching to be the result of a natural gas leak alone.

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