Questions linger one year after Ripley Co. fires - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Questions linger one year after Ripley Co. fires

Loyd and Irene Piatt Loyd and Irene Piatt
Bonnie Chase and Ed Atkinson Bonnie Chase and Ed Atkinson

It has been one year and still no justice for a Heartland couple shot and burned in their home. It's a story that rocked Ripley County last summer.

In late June 2010, a fire destroyed the home of Loyd and Irene Piatt. Investigators did not suspect foul play at first, until a similar fire destroyed the home of Ed Atkinson and Bonnie Chase in July. Authorities say the couple did not die in the fire, but at the hands of a murderer.

After exhuming their bodies, authorities learned the Piatt's were also shot to death. They say clues pointed to the same four suspects in both cases.

David Youngblood, his wife Melissa, daughter Chantale and Chantale's boyfriend, Keith Boyles face murder charges for the deaths of Atkinson and Chase. They remain prime suspects in the homicide investigation involving the Piatt case. Yet, months later family members want to know why no one has been charged.

"I don't know why we should have to take so long to put them to justice," said Imetta Farrar. Farrar was married to the Piatt's late son.

Though investigators say they are all but certain the same four suspects were involved in the cases of both Atkinson and Chase and Loyd and Irene Piatt she wonders why no one is being held accountable.

"Thursday night was the year anniversary and we just sat around wondering about it," Farrar said.  "Wondering what happened when they died."  

Farrar says it's frustrating the charges are still lingering, but what's more she says it's complicated for the family because David Youngblood is the Piatt's nephew.  

"We have talked about how they were at their funeral and they were so calm so cool. How could they be that way?" asked Farrar. 

She says the family wants to know who is responsible for the deaths of the elderly couple. If it's the Youngbloods and Boyles: why haven't they been charged? If they aren't responsible: who is? 

Sheriff Ron Barnett says he's confident the right people are in the hands of authorities.

"People need to be patient," said Sheriff Barnett. "I know in my heart we've got the right people in jail. They aren't going anywhere. It's just a matter of time."

Sheriff Barnett says there is still a lot of evidence to be processed with four victims, four suspects, and two crime scenes involved.  He says crime labs are backed up, and sometimes getting it right takes time. 

"We've not forgotten," said Sheriff Barnett. "We'll make sure these people pay."

"We just want justice and we want it done fast before everybody forgets who they were," said Farrar.

The Missouri Attorney General's office is now handling the case.  Farrar says prosecutors tell her it could be two years before anyone is charged. Sheriff Barnett says that time frame is a real possibility.

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