3 children doused with gas during home invasion

(WMC-TV) - Local and federal authorities are looking for three out of five of the suspects wanted for forcing their way into a home and doing the unthinkable.

Marshall County investigators say a house along Early Grove Road could have been the scene of four fiery deaths.

"I've been living here over 30 years and never heard of anything like that happening," said neighbor Janet Skelton.

Skelton lives two houses up the road.

"I can't imagine a kid going through that," she said.

Investigators say three children ages 9, 1, and just 3 months old were doused with gasoline late Wednesday night along with one adult female after three men forced their way inside the home.

"From what we understand they weren't armed with anything," said Marshall Co. Sheriff's Major Kelly McMillen. "But they had a gas jug," he added.

McMillen says everyone was ordered to lie on the floor.

"They started dashing gas everywhere in the living room," said McMillen. "Some on the children, some on the furniture, whatever," he added.

He says something could have easily sparked a deadly fire.

"We're not sure how much was dispersed, but any amount in that residence could have blown the place up," said McMillen.

A large screen TV was among the items the suspects attempted to take. However, it broke into pieces when they dropped it on the ground.

Deputies say Qwanesha Rhine and Shantel Fitzpatrick waited outside the house. Both of them were charged Thursday with burglary and assault while the three wanted men remain on the run.

"I truly hope they catch these guys and get them off the streets for a very long time," said neighbor Janet Skelton.

The wanted men are identified as 20 year olds Martin Mitchell of Holly Springs and Cedric McNeil of Memphis, in addition to a juvenile. The U-S Marshals Service is helping in the search. Investigators are trying to determine if this crime is related to a home invasion near Byhalia earlier in the week.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.