TOWER— Law enforcement officials have arrested Jesse Lee Bonacci-Koski, 24, in connection with a fatal house fire that took the life of 11-month old Bentley Joe Lewis Koski on Wednesday. Police have arrested the 24-year-old on charges of second degree manslaughter,
TOWER— Law enforcement officials have arrested Jesse Lee Bonacci-Koski, 24, in connection with a fatal house fire that took the life of 11-month old Bentley Joe Lewis Koski on Wednesday. Police have arrested the 24-year-old on charges of second degree manslaughter, child neglect, auto theft, possession of a controlled substance and possession of narcotic paraphernalia. Bonacci-Koski is currently in the St. Louis County Jail in Virginia, pending formal charges. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but arson is not currently suspected.
Firefighters found the 11-month old boy unconscious and not breathing in the upstairs of a smoke-filled house on the city’s northwest side early Wednesday morning. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s office later confirmed that the child had died. The name of the boy was not released, but sources confirmed that the child was the son of Krista Swanson, who lived in the residence, located at 813 North Third St., in Tower
Firefighters responded to the scene about 7:45 a.m. and found smoke pouring out of a second story window along with flames on the first floor. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters began a search of the residence and reported their discovery at 8:45 a.m.
“We have an eighteen-month-old male infant who is not breathing at this time,” reported Tower Fire Chief Steve Altenburg to St. Louis County dispatchers, who paged the Tower and Virginia ambulances as well as Lifeflight immediately after the discovery. The child was reportedly large for his age, which likely accounts for the initial misjudgment regarding the child’s age.
Fire and smoke damage was only minimally apparent from the outside of the home. According to county records, the property is owned by Jason Karjala, of Nashwauk, but it was reportedly being rented by Krista Swanson and a male partner.
Local law enforcement barred access to much of the block for several hours on Wednesday as fire officials finished extinguishing the blaze and continued to assess the situation. A fire marshal was on the scene Wednesday morning, but had no comment on what is an ongoing fire investigation. Law enforcement officials indicated that a criminal investigation is now also underway.
The Timberjay will post more information at timberjay.com as it becomes available.