Woman arrested in homicide of man found in house fire on Indy’s near east side

Crime in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis woman is behind bars accused of murder and arson.

Police arrested 27-year-old Brittany Snelbaker in connection to the murder of 24-year-old Charles Burgess, Jr.

Booking photo of Brittany Snelbaker

Firefighters originally responded to a house fire in the 3600 block of E. Vermont Street around 8:45 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 5.

After extinguishing the fire, firefighters found a man dead on the basement steps.

The coroner ruled Burgess Jr. had been shot, stabbed and set on fire. Violence that devastated his mother.

“I have to bury my baby now when I thought he should be burying me,” said Miranda Wood.

Home surveillance videos provided by neighbors allegedly show Snelbaker walking to her dad’s house in the same neighborhood, wearing a Halloween mask as a disguise, where she grabbed a gas can and returned to set the fire.

According to court records, a friend of the suspect told police the killing took place because Burgess owed Snelbaker money for living in the home and another witness confirmed Snelbaker confessed to the killing.

“We plead with the community to come forward and tell us if they know things,” said IMPD officer Genae Cook.

Police said that community assistance played a critical role in solving the murder on Vermont, but across the city nearly 60 percent of this year’s homicides remain unsolved.

“We don’t want a low clearance rate. We don’t want any case to go unsolved,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor in an interview last week.

Chief Taylor stressed last week that detectives need the public to continue speaking up to help them solve a higher number of homicides.

Officer Cook shares that message.

“We can’t do it alone. We’ve asked for community assistance,” said Cook. “The community coming forward is allowing us to give the families of these violent crimes some type of resolution.”

After her arrest, police claim Snelbaker admitted to the crime to police.

The suspect made her initial court hearing Friday. She’s being held without bond at the Marion County jail.

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