Father believes he’s suspect in arson that killed son; hospital refutes claims he was thrown out
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated since Covenant Health told Global News Cordell Brown was not kicked out of the hospital, as he previously stated.
The father of a five-month-old who died in a south Edmonton arson earlier this week said he feels police are targeting him as a suspect in the deliberately set fire.
Cordell Brown’s wife, Angie Tang, remains in critical condition after suffering smoke inhalation during Tuesday morning’s house fire in the Ambleside neighbourhood.
Brown said he communicated with his wife Thursday night by writing notes because she’s unable to speak.
“My last words to her last night was ‘I love you. We’re going to get new dogs, we’re going to get a new house and we’re going to get more kids, and we’re going to start our whole life over again if we build it piece by piece, and life goes on'” Brown said.
Brown said his wife told him their five-month-old son died inside their home during Tuesday morning’s fire.
“I said, ‘you heard me screaming, you heard the alarms, why didn’t you get out of the house?’ And she told me that when she tried to leave the master bedroom, the smoke and fire was too intense, so she went and took Hunter, my son, and they went into the closet and closed the door,” Brown said.
“She said Hunter died in her arms in the closet.”
Tang and her son were pulled out of the home by firefighters and rushed to hospital. Hunter was pronounced dead a short time later. An autopsy revealed the child died of smoke inhalation.
Police are investigating his death as Edmonton’s 32nd homicide of the year.
“When I think about him dying in that closet, not able to breathe and dying in the arms of his mom, is the most traumatic and most terrible thing that I’ll ever live through,” Brown said.
Brown said he believes police not only view him as a suspect in the homicide investigation, but the only suspect.
“I know it’s always the closest relative, the husband, the wife or whatever that does these things. But I have made no attempt to flee, I’m talking to the media, I’m talking to the police everyday, numerous times.”
Brown said he’s provided around a dozen police statements and his story has remained the same. He also said he’s scheduled to take a lie detector test next week.
“I’ve told the homicide department that I’m more than happy to cooperate. They see me every day, the police call me every day,” Brown said.
“The police call me everyday. They know where I’m residing right now.”
Brown said he’s no longer allowed to visit his wife in the Misericordia Hospital and that he was escorted out Thursday night after visiting Tang.
He said he doesn’t know why he was asked to leave.
Covenant Health has since refuted those claims, telling Global News Brown was never escorted out or banned from visiting his wife in the hospital.
Brown said he had nothing to do with the arson. He’s offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire.
“Someone must have seen something, someone must have heard something, someone knows something. The money is yours,” Brown said.
Tang’s sister-in-law Judith Tang posted a message online, requesting privacy and expressing the devastation the family is feeling.
“I want to set the record straight. I can’t speak for everyone. But I can speak for Angie’s immediate family because we are in this together. We are grieving together. We are surviving together. We are barely holding it together because we are overcome by the loss of our precious Hunter. We are scared and trying to be strong for Angie to help her get well,” she wrote.
Tang also included a link to a gofundme page that she said aims to cover the costs for Hunter’s funeral and the costs associated with caring for his mother.
Five other people lived in the home and were able to make it out before fire crews arrived.
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