Darron Cummings / AP

TODAY   |  November 20, 2012

Indiana house blast now a homicide probe

The deadly Indianapolis home explosion that leveled much of a neighborhood and killed two people is being investigated as a homicide. Officials are looking for a white van seen in the area on the day of the blast. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> shocking twist in the deadly explosion that nearly leveled an indianapolis neighborhood a little earlier this month. now authorities are saying it appears to be no accident. nbc's kevin tibbles is there. kevin , good morning to you.

>> reporter: matt, it's been a little over a week since a deadly explosion rocked this indianapolis neighborhood. two people dead, more than 80 homes either destroyed or damaged. well, now the authorities are saying this is a homicide investigation. it was a sad scene at a double funeral in indianapolis monday.

>> it just seems like such a waste of wonderful people to die so young.

>> reporter: hundreds came to pay the respects to john and jennifer longworth, the couple killed in a november 10th explosion that destroyed five homes and damaged dozens. the longworths, both in their mid-30s, lived next door to the house that investigators believe was the center of the explosion. late monday city officials made a startling announcement.

>> at this time we are here to inform you that we are turning this into a criminal homicide investigation.

>> reporter: the longworths lived next door to a house co-owned by john shirley and his ex-wife. according to the situation the woman's boyfriend had recently replaced the thermostat on a malfunctioning furnace at the house. she and her boyfriend were not at home at the time of the blast. late monday night the couple's attorney red a statement that said in part they watched with bewilderment as the news report that the authorities are now treating the investigation as a criminal investigation and well as a causation search. the two remain horrified at tragic events destruction and loss of lives that occurred. they have cooperated fully with various investigators and agencies on multiple occasions and have answered each and every question including speculation as to whether they have been targeted by anyone.

>> if, in fact, investigators believe that explosion was intentional as opposed to accidental, it was either targeted against the residents of that house or targeted against the house itself, perhaps for insurance purposes or some other reason.

>> reporter: investigators monday urged witnesses to come forward with information about a white van seen in the neighborhood.

>> specifically, if anyone has information about a white van seen in the subdivision on the day of the explosion and about the occupants of that van, we urge you to contact crimestoppers.

>> reporter: investigators will continue to sift through the rubble today to decide or to try to find, rather, whether or not they can find the person who is behind this or perhaps a motive as to why it was done. matt.

>> kevin tibbles in indianapolis , kevin ,