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Fort Wayne and area police briefs

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 11:11 am

Portable heater eyed in fatal fire

A portable heater being used to thaw frozen pipes may have caused a fire that left one person dead Wednesday inside a home on Chapman Lake in Kosciusko County.

Preliminary findings by county fire investigators indicated that the blaze started in the basement of 2147 Chapman Lake Drive, close to the portable heater, said Gordon Baker, chief investigator with the county Fire Investigation Team, in a statement.

Through interviews, investigators found that some pipes had frozen Tuesday evening, and a heater was being used to thaw the lines, Baker said. The fire started “in close proximity” to the heater, he said.

The Kosciusko County Coroner's Office has not identified the person who was found dead after the fire. No further information was available Thursday, said Sgt. Chad Hill, a county sheriff's spokesman.

3 charged in two drug cases

Two Fort Wayne Police drug investigations netted three arrests this week, including two people suspected of dealing heroin.

In the first case, Keith JaJuan Cooper, 34, and Latasha Renee Sykes, 30, are each charged with dealing and possession of heroin after police searched the pair's car and apartment in the 800 block of Ridgewood Drive, police Sgt. Greg Stier said in a news release.

Police stopped a vehicle driven by Sykes at Tennessee and Tecumseh avenues Tuesday during an investigation into possible illegal activity in the area, the release said. Police recognized the passenger, Cooper, from a previous heroin-related arrest, and then allegedly found 8.3 grams of heroin in the vehicle, the release said.

After the traffic stop, police obtained a search warrant for the Ridgewood Drive apartment, which they searched early Wednesday morning, allegedly finding items consistent with the sale of heroin, the release said.

Cooper and Sykes were being held in the Allen County Jail.

In an investigation Thursday into alleged marijuana sales, a Fort Wayne Police SWAT team and officers with the department's vice and narcotics division served a search warrant at a home in the 2800 block of Radcliffe Drive.

At that residence, police arrested 27-year-old Holly Nichole Cosme on three charges of dealing marijuana, along with charges of possession of marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance, all felonies. She also is charged with possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor.

That investigation is ongoing, Stier said in the news release.

South Whitley driver dies

A 73-year-old South Whitley woman died Saturday after her vehicle went off a county road in Whitley County.

Donna J. Rose was westbound on County Road 500 S when her Chevrolet Impala left the road and struck a tree, according to a report by Deputy Scott Schmitt. Rose was declared dead at the scene and the cause was pending.

Driving accidents abound

Fort Wayne area police officers were busy responding to a number of slide-offs and crashes as drivers took to snow-covered roads Friday morning.

At 11 a.m., while en route to one accident, a police officer saw a semi tractor-trailer-Mustang crash that blew out the car's windows, according to scanner traffic. The officer was rerouted to that accident at the 21.3 mile marker on northbound Interstate 469. The marker is near Indiana 37/Maysville Road exit.