Thursday, September 22 2011 7:09 AM EDT2011-09-22 11:09:48 GMT
Erik Chappell was driving his two sons to football practice when its believed a car bomb was detonated.More >>
MONROE, MI (WTOL) - Monroe police officials have told the Monroe Evening News that they are close to an arrest in the car bombing of Erik Chappell and his two sons.
They say the investigation is zeroing in on two suspects. One of those suspects is the estranged husband of a woman represented by Chappell for a divorce.
Erik Chappell was driving his two sons to football practice Tuesday evening at about 5:30 p.m. when the car exploded at Elm and I-75 in Monroe.
"It was a serious blast," said ATF agent Donald Dawkins. "It was dangerous. It had a lot of power behind it, and the victims are very fortunate and very blessed to be alive."
A witness described the scene of the explosion.
"You could just smell burning rubber and plastic and gasoline in the air," said Shawn Remington, a witness and amateur photographer. "When I arrived the car was smoldering and burnt literally to the ground."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Monroe police and the Michigan State Police worked to get the bits and pieces they need to determine what was used to bomb Erik Chappell's car, injuring him and his two sons.
National ATF chemists gathered evidence and planned to reconstruct and recover evidence to try to figure out what device was used to blow up the car and where exactly it was placed.
Maureen Chappell, wife of Erik Chappell and the mother of the two boy's injured in the Sept. 20 car explosion, reported to the boy's school principal several days later that they expect for everyone to make full recovery.
A statement from the Chappell family said the Erik and sons were "in stable conditions and are in good spirits."
About 200 middle school students from St. Michael's, St. John's and St. Mary's schools in Monroe, Michigan gathered at St. Michael's Church to pray for their classmates, Cole and Grant Chappell.
Neighbors of the Chappells said they cannot imagine why anyone would want to hurt Chappell and his children.
"They're really nice people, really nice people," Sovey said. "[They were] always playing outside with the kids and the dog."
The family hosted an annual Fourth of July barbecue for the neighborhood.
"They would set off fireworks for the whole neighborhood. They always seemed to keep to themselves, but they were really friendly," said Morgan King, a neighbor.
The ATF is offering up to a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the explosion. Contact 1-800-ATFBOMB (284-2662) or 313-202-3400 with any tips.