By Mike Rush
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - We have new information about a man accused of a quadruple murder.
Derrick Twardoski, 33, is charged with intentionally setting the fire that killed four children in Percy, Ill. last week.
Wednesday, Mike Rush spoke with Twardoski's former long-time girlfriend.
Brandy, who didn't want us to reveal her last name, says she dated Derrick Twardoski for four years. They have a 5-year-old son together. But she says the guy she was romantically involved with is a much different man now and she thinks she has an idea why.
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"I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry," said Brandy. "I wish there was something I could do to turn back time and make him not do this."
That's what Brandy says she would say to the Owen family given the chance.
"It was the most unbelievable news I've ever had in my life," she said.
The man she once loved, the father of her son, is charged with murdering 12-year-old Ethan Owen, 9-year-old Kailey, and their twin brothers, Brandan and Landan, who were five. That's the same age of the son they share together.
"I'm just letting everyone know that that's not the person that I knew. That's not the father or the man that I was with. No way, it wouldn't have lasted a week," Brandy said.
Brandy says the couple broke up about two years ago around the time Derrick suffered a severe head injury.
"He jumped out of a moving vehicle," said Brandy.
"He was drunk. Had been drinking," asked Mike Rush.
"Yes," she said.
She says he was never the same. He was distant and suffering from depression and anxiety. She says he became a devoted church-goer to battle his demons, but then stopped.
After the murders and his arrest, Brandy says she tried, unsuccessfully to visit Derrick in jail.
"It wasn't to console him. I basically needed some closure as to why. What happened to you? Why did you do this to this family? Why did you do this to these children? Why did you do this to our children," said Brandy.
Brandy says with their son, a daughter from a previous marriage, and step-children in a current marriage, Twardoski has six kids.
She wanted to make sure people know she doesn't support or make excuses for him in any way and that she passes along her deepest sympathies to the Owen family.