Mother charged in fatal Gary apartment fire

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Gary police have charged the mother of two children who died in an apartment fire in Gary, Indiana on Sunday. (WLS)

Gary police have charged the mother of two children who died in an apartment fire in Gary, Indiana on Sunday.

Police said Kristen Gober, 33, left her three children home alone in their fourth floor apartment in the 5800-block of Forest Court. According to a court affidavit, Gober's 6-year-old son Justen said the fire started after he and 4-year-old brother Kristopher Gober put a blanket on the stove. Justen told police that all three children hid under a blanket before he ran away, leaving his siblings alone in the apartment. Justen was able to escape, but Kristopher and 2-year-old Kailani Gober died in the fire.

Court documents also revealed that Kristen Gober claimed that she went back to the apartment to try and save the children. She said she could hear her children inside the apartment, but that the flames prevented her from entering so she left.

She has been charged with three counts of neglect and one count of possession of marijuana and remains in police custody.

Kristen Gober, 33

"It broke me apart to know that my son was actually calling out for help and she refused to do it," said Christopher Hardin, the father of the 4-year-old boy that was killed.

The father shared his son's last words with ABC7 Eyewitness News.

"The last words he told was, 'Daddy I want to come, can I come with you? Daddy I come with you?'"

The elder Hardin was in court just last week fighting for full custody of his now-deceased son. He said that he told the court he believed his child was being neglected.

"You don't leave your children unattended by themselves, especially kids this small," he said. "I felt like I failed him as a father, because I tried to do it the right way by going through the system and the system failed me and I failed him and it's tearing me apart every day."

This was the same fire where an 8-year-old boy jumped from his burning fourth floor apartment, ultimately saving his own life.

The Gary Police Department asks that anyone with additional information contact the Lake County/Gary metro Homicide Unit at 219-755-3855 or the Crime Tip Line at 866-CRIME-GP (274-6347).
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