Theraputic horse barn experienced suspicious behavior leading up to fire

Deputies are still investigating a suspicious fire near Lowell that killed 13 horses and left the owner of the non-profit devastated.

LOWELL, MICH. - The scent of charred wood and sounds of quiet grief have settled upon The Barn for Equine Learning.

As the non-profit’s director, Kat Welton struggles with her new reality: the loss of 13 therapy horses and a barn Saturday, April 8.

Kent County investigators remained on scene Monday canvassing the surrounding woods. Welton told WZZM 13 deputies now believe more than one individual might have been responsible for the suspicious fire.

“There were odd things around the property that didn’t feel right,” she said.

The barn was in the process of installing surveillance cameras after experiencing several suspicious incidents leading up to the weekend fire.

“Sadly, there’s not footage of the barn,” Welton said.

Deputies have not released a name but have identified a person of interest.

Taylor Bazen, who has experienced the barn’s therapeutic services herself, said the loss of these horses has devastated the community.

“We work with a lot of at-risk kids,” Bazen said. “We pair them up with horses and it changes people. (It) turns kids into a different person.

"Someone who could've been violent before or aggressive just turns into a very calm, kind soul.”

A memorial service is planned for Saturday. Its GoFundMe account has been increased to a goal of $50,000 following an overwhelming response from the public.

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© 2017 WZZM-TV


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