A Florida man allegedly stabbed the mother of his children to death and set her apartment ablaze, leaving three kids under the age of 5 to “die in a fully engulfed fire,” authorities allege.
Daytona Beach police and firefighters were called around midnight Tuesday for a structure fire and found the building fully engulfed in flames and large plumes of smoke billowing from the windows. When Officer Carlos Queliz approached the door, he saw a set of keys in front of it and unlocked it, according to an arrest affidavit reviewed by Law&Crime.
Queliz and firefighters navigated through the smoke to rescue three children, including a 10-month-old boy found in his crib. They also found a woman, identified as 30-year-old Den’Jah Moore, dead from stab wounds.
The 10-month-old died at a hospital. The other two kids, ages 4 and 5, remain in critical condition.
Investigators quickly realized the fire was intentionally set in two locations. All four burners on the stove were turned on and had burned paper and a box on top. Detectives believe the initial fire was set in a bedroom.
Detectives learned the father of at least two of the children was Charles Leon Ivey and went to alert him of the fire. They initially couldn’t find him, but officers later found him loading suitcases and bags into an SUV outside his home in nearby Ormond Beach.
Investigators noticed an injury to his leg and a cut on his hand. Ivy and another person drove away in the SUV, and cops pulled them over. The person Ivy was with told cops Ivy left for work around 5 p.m. Monday and returned around midnight. Ivy took off his clothes before he went inside as he normally does because he “doesn’t like the way his clothes smell from work,” the affidavit said.
Charles Ivey, left, allegedly stabbed the mother of his children, Den’Jah Moore, to death and then set her Daytona Beach, Florida, apartment on fire with kids inside. One of the kids, 10 months, died. Ivey is charged with murder, attempted murder and arson. (Ivey: Volusia County Jail; Apartment: Daytona Beach Fire Department)
He told the person he suffered a leg injury and cut on his hand from removing a fender on a trailer. Ivy’s co-workers told investigators he clocked out around 10 p.m. Ivy told investigators he admitted to being at the apartment complex at the time of the fire but denied partaking in the crimes, according to the redacted affidavit. He could not think of anyone who would want to hurt Moore or her children.
Daytona Beach Police Chief Jakari Young told reporters Wednesday that investigators obtained traffic camera footage showing Ivy leaving the scene around the time of the fire. He also had Moore’s cellphone, Young said. Detectives are still trying to pin down a motive for the killings and arson, which Young described as “horrendous and horrific.”
“With what we witnessed throughout this investigation, the defendant in this incident deserves a special place in the gates of hell for what he did to this mother and these children,” Young said.
Young credited the first responders for getting the surviving children out of the apartment.
“If it not for their actions, it’s possible that the 4- and 5-year-olds would have passed away,” he said. “Their swift actions saved their lives.”
While Moore was stabbed, the children’s injuries were “as a result of being left to die in a fully engulfed fire,” Young said. He said last he knew, the two surviving children remained intubated.
Ivy is being held without bond at the Volusia County Jail on two counts each of first-degree murder and attempted murder, plus a charge of first-degree arson.
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