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By Elizabeth Matthews

PERCY, Ill. (KSDK) - For a small town in Illinois, it's heartache. Four children are dead, not able to escape a burning home in Percy, Ill. Police have now charged Derrick Twardoski of Alton with four counts of first-degree murder.

The four victims of the Owen family include 12-year-old Ethan, 9-year-old Kailey and twin 5-year-old brothers Brandon and Landan.

Neighbors say the family lived in this house less than six months.

"His grandmother died in that house, he said he liked the house and he always visited the house and his grandmother there," said neighbor Arlyn Fisk, who has lived in Percy all his life and knows the Owen family quite well.

He says Matt, the father of the kids, wanted them to grow up in Percy.

"He had a nice little sign he would put out there that would say 'Slow, kids are playing,'" he said.

Friday morning, Fisk woke up to a horrific scene.

"We heard the parents screaming," he said. "I didn't go outside I couldn't, but I heard the father moaning and they are gone, they are gone. And the mother screamed and said my babies, my babies and that they are all gone."

The parents, another child and an 18-year-old relative were all able to get out of the house in time. Fisk eventually walked to his neighbor's home and saw Matt, the father.

"He was animated and just said that the tires in his car had been slashed and on his truck, and that there was a gas can and that they had somebody in custody he knew that this morning," said Fisk.

Fisk says no doubt the community will come together and help support the Owen family, but right now it's hard to know just how to help.

"I don't know you just can't handle it," he said.

Police have not yet said what or if there is a relationship between the Owen family and the suspect, Derrick Twardoski.

Police sayTwardoski is in the Randolph County Jail with no bond and is on suicide watch.

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