Persons of interest identified in E. Utica St. house fire that killed three, family continues search for answers

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It was last September 25 in the middle of the night when a fire that started near Anthony Gouchie’s car in the driveway caught the house on fire on East Utica near Main, killing Anthony, his girlfriend Emma Johnson, and their one-year-old daughter, all sleeping in a third-floor attic space.

Gouchie’s mother Ruth told us, “My son was a great person, he had a good head on his shoulders. All he wanted to do was work and take care of his family.”

The cause is still under investigation but a city spokesman told News 4 today that fire investigators have identified persons of interest who they’d like to question in the case.

Nightstarr Luper was one of Anthony’s best friends and told us, “It’s unsettling. It’s really bothering. Like he was a really outgoing person.”

“To be honest, I would love to say that it’s accidental. I would want it to be accidental. I know he had troubles with one or two people. I mean I didn’t think it was anything to the extent of this far, so I guess I would hope it was accidental,” Luper continued.

The home on East Utica has long since been demolished and if the last seven months haven’t been hard enough on the victim’s loved ones, they can’t imagine what it would be like if they never get answers.

“You know my grandson he’s nine. He deserves to know what happened to his baby sister. We all need closure and if somebody did this, they should be behind bars,” Ruth Gouchie said.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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