A home on a southwestern Minnesota farm was engulfed in flames, a generous husband and wife are dead, and three young men are in jail.
That’s the grim scenario in Lyon County, where a blaze Thursday in Balaton killed 75-year-old Jim Hively and his wife, Cathy, who was 71.
Under arrest are three men who could be charged as soon as Monday. They are all from that area of the state and range in age from 18 to 21. All are suspected of arson and burglary. Two of them also are suspected of murder.
One of the suspects, a 20-year-old man from Balaton, is on probation after being sentenced for helping his brother flee law enforcement in a pickup truck last summer following the shooting and wounding of a 30-year-old man in nearby Yellow Medicine County. The brother was caught, convicted and is in prison.
Emergency responders were called to the home 15 miles south of Marshall about 9 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office. The Hivelys’ bodies were taken to the Twin Cities, where a medical examiner will determine a precise cause of death and how they died.
Little else has been said about the fire by the Sheriff’s Office, only that it “does not believe there is an ongoing threat to public safety.”
The couple’s family released a statement to the news media. It said the Hivelys should “be remembered for the loving, hardworking farm couple they were. They were parents who loved, cared for, and served their family, friends and neighbors. They modeled the love and service of Jesus in daily life.”
The statement also noted the couple’s many kindnesses, among them preparing and serving a community Thanksgiving meal at the armory and “baking and sharing treats with all the local school staff members.”
The Rev. Bernie Wing is associate pastor at Grace Life Church in Marshall, where Jim and Cathy Hively attended. Wing told the Marshall Independent newspaper that the Hivelys were “the kind of people who didn’t want the limelight. They were a good example. They didn’t just talk the talk.”
Services for Jim and Cathy Hively are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Victory Christian Church in Balaton. A visitation is set for Monday at the church from 4-8 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m.