A Monroe County man was arrested in California late last night after arrest warrants were issued related to a death investigation and fire on February 10 near Bloomington on Handy Road.
That investigation found Lerae Bush, age 85 deceased inside her residence.
Noel Montes Cazares, AKA “Giovanni Bush”, 49, was arrested Thursday for Arson, Murder, Neglect of a Dependent and Obstruction of Justice.
On February 10th of this year, rescue crews and investigators were called to 5601 Handy Road by a neighbor at approximately 11:29 a.m. Upon their arrival, Perry-Clear Creek Fire Protection District found a structure that was fully engulfed in flames. Investigators also found a man who identified himself as Giovanni Bush outside the structure. Bush told investigators his mother was deceased inside the structure and that he had been unsuccessful in trying to remove her. He was then taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal, a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, was then called to the scene along with Indiana State Police Detectives. The Monroe County Fire Investigation Task Force assisted as well.
Investigators located documents at the scene belonging to Noel Montes Cazares along with a photo that possibly appeared to be the same as Giovanni Bush, leading investigators to question his true identity. The suspect indicated the deceased female was his mother, although investigators could find no records to confirm their relationship.
Family members later told detectives that to their knowledge, Lerae Bush never had children.
Subsequent investigation determined Lerae Bush suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and was dependent on Noel Montes Cazares for food, transportation and clothing. Detectives found no source of employment for Cazares and the residence in which she died had no functioning utilities.
Neighbors told detectives they were surprised anyone lived in the structure.
The investigation later revealed a trust agreement in the name of Lerae Bush with one beneficiary, which had been removed and replaced with the name of Giovanni Bush.
Due to conflicting statements delivered by Cazares, witness information and evidence at the scene, an arrest warrant was issued yesterday afternoon in Monroe County. The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in California later arrested Cazares without incident.
Indiana State Police detectives now begin the process of extradition.
The investigation is ongoing by the Indiana Fire Marshal’s Office and the Indiana State Police. Additional charges could follow.