LILBURN, Ga. - Federal and local authorities say they are still looking for a man believed to be behind a fire in a Lilburn home three years ago that killed three young children.
Ivan Gonzalez is believed to have fled to Mexico but some authorities now wonder if he has come back across the border and might be in Georgia.
Gwinnett County Police believe Gonzalez, his girlfriend, and another man were manufacturing methamphetamine at the home on Spring Mill Drive in unincorporated Lilburn.
In February 2011, the house caught fire, killing 21-month-old Stacy Brito, 3-year-old Jose Ivan Guevara and 4-year-old Isaac Guevara. The children's mother and a second man were convicted and sent to prison. Gonzalez has not been spotted since shortly after the fire. He is wanted on three counts of murder, according to police.
"We are still looking for him," Gwinnett County Police Cpl. Jake Smith said. "We believe he has fled the state and possibly even the country and believe he has possibly gone to Mexico to avoid prosecution. "
Investigators say Gonzalez fled the day of the fire, saying he was heading to the hospital -- but has never been seen since. In the house, authorities said they found $195,000 stuffed in the walls.
The lot where the house once stood is now empty. The house was torn down two years ago but neighbors say driving past the spot still brings back bad memories.
"I know it's going to be tough," neighbor David Bolton said.
Residents like Bolton have kept watch on the property for years, and said they would would love to see their former neighbor captured.
"I don't think he'd ever come back to Atlanta, he may be someplace else trying to run the same scam again." Bolton said.
Gwinnett County authorities along with the Drug Enforcement Administration have teamed up to try and find Gonzalez.
Investigators said they hope Gonzalez will pop back up someplace in Georgia and they will be able to find him, or that someone in the Gwinnett community will know where he is south of the border and will let them know.
Authorities search for man accused in fire that killed 3 kids
GBI investigates shootout between off-duty officer, armed man
5 dead in shooting at mall in Washington State, police say
Protesters rally and march in Atlanta over Charlotte police shooting
Atlanta police monitor NAACP protest from Joint Operations Center