Mother Of 3 Killed In Minneapolis Fire Could Face Charges

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s now up to the Hennepin
County Attorney’s Office to decide if a mother who lost three children
in a house fire will face charges. The fire happened late on Saturday,
Oct. 3.
Investigators believe she left the oven door open for heat. The
mother of the three young children said she was home. Now investigators
say she was not.
On Oct. 3, Taneshia Stewart stood surrounded by family and friends spoke to WCCO.

“I was there we all was in the house, I was in the house with my kids,” she said.

But investigators say the story has gotten even more painful to contemplate.

Sgt. Sean McKenna, a Minneapolis Police and Fire investigator said
Monday, “At this point we believe the version of this story that we’ve
been given is inaccurate.”
Investigators say they have reports she was somewhere else and she had been drinking.

“We do not believe there was a competent adult in the home at the time the fire was reported,” McKenna said.

Investigators say charges against Stewart would be up to the county
attorney’s office. An outside attorney we spoke with, Eric Nelson with
Halberg Criminal Defense, says that’s likely.
“It’s criminal in nature, therefore the state’s going to charge it, regardless of tragedy,” he said.

Nelson says the mother’s grief and loss won’t likely be considered in
the charging process, but could get her sympathy in a sentencing
process. He says what happened could qualify as a gross misdemeanor all
the way up to second-degree manslaughter, which he defines.
“It’s conduct that a reasonable person would recognize as having a
high probability of causing great bodily harm or death to another
person,” Nelson said.
“I believe that if there would have been a competent adult in the
home then everyone would have been able to evacuate safely,” McKenna
The reason investigators say they think that Stewart was not in the
house: She had no smoke odor or signs of smoke inhalation. They are
also looking into rumors and social media tips that she was at a local
Charges are all up to the county attorney but no matter what happens, it’s such a painful story.