01/03/2013 05:38 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Nathaniel Beller Arson: Suspect Threatened To Burn His Kids Months Ago, Walked Free Prior To Fatal Fire

A tragic incident that claimed three lives in a December blaze has developed odd twists and chilling new details.

Back in September, Nathaniel Beller threatened the exact deed he allegedly carried out last week, setting fire to a Lawndale home in the 4200 block of West 21st Place which killed him, his girlfriend and their 4-year-old daughter.

According to reports, Beller made the threats three months ago during a standoff with Cicero police, said CBS Chicago. The 29-year-old had filled his bathtub with gasoline and threatened to burn his 4-year-old daughter Neriyah and 9-year-old son Naciere, but was never charged following the incident.

Labeled "a career criminal" by the Sun-Times, Beller was "quickly freed" after a psychiatric evaluation related to the Sept. 9 standoff.

Beller had been engaged to his girlfriend, Taniya Johnson, 33, for almost two year but had been living with his mother Willie Beller in recent months, reports the Tribune. Beller said her son was taking medication for the bipolar disorder he was diagnosed with in 2011.

On Dec. 29, the suspect allegedly poured accelerant on his two children and their mother before starting the fire. Four-year-old daughter Neriyah suffered burns over her entire body and died two days later at Stroger Hospital, according to a separate Tribune report.

Willie Beller had claimed earlier it was Johnson, and not her son who, started the fire.

Since neither police nor the Cook County State’s Attorney charged Beller following his earlier threat, the Sun-Times said authorities are now looking in to how the September case was handled.

The Sun-Times said a source gave them a chilling detail about the Sept. incident but that it had been excluded from the official police report. Wednesday, Cicero Police Supt. Bernard Harrison disputed the detail and defended his office's handling of the case.

Officials are also looking in to a possible case of neglect on behalf of the two children's foster parents. The same month Beller made his threat, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services removed the two children from their parents’ care and placed them with a foster family.

The orphaned nine-year-old remains hospitalized with burns over 35 percent of his body.



Questionable Parenting