MONROE (WWJ/AP)– Federal investigators are sifting through tips from the public in the case of a car bomb in Monroe that sent Attorney Eric Chappell and his two young sons to the hospital on Tuesday.
Meantime, students at the boy’s school held a prayer vigil, where WWJ’s Marie Osborne reported 200 middle school students for three catholic school gathered to offer prayers for 6th and 8th graders Cole and Grant Chappell and their dad, who coached football.
Pastor Father Stephen Vilio said it was the student’ idea to hold the vigil, and they were prepared to pray.
“[They were] very quiet … I’m surprised. I would have thought that they would have said something like they were scared,” he said. “The one thing they did say was that it was kind of surprising that it happened here in Monroe,” Villio said.
The boys’ principal Michelle Sontag said she’s been told by the boys’ mother, Maureen Chappell, that they are doing well enough to watch cartoons on TV and they are being well cared for. She said it was a miracle they weren’t burned in the explosion and that they’ve been asking for their homework.
According to Sontag, Chappell said her husband and sons are “in good spirits” and expected to fully recover, and she asked people to pray for her family’s healing and comfort.
Investigators haven’t determined if Erik Chappell, who is a lawyer, or one of his family members was the intended target of the attack, said Donald Dawkins, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is leading the investigation and working with state and local police.
Investigators were following up on numerous leads on Thursday, but they hadn’t identified a suspect, Dawkins said. Fragments of the bomb that turned the Chappell’s Volvo into a blackened hulk of metal were being sent for forensic examination at the ATF’s national laboratory in Washington, D.C., he said.
Erik Chappell’s firm, Lyden Liebenthal & Chappell, Ltd., has declined to comment about the attack. Chappell’s profile on the firm’s website says he primarily handles business litigation in Ohio, Michigan and federal courts, but also handles family law and real estate law cases, as well as construction disputes.
The Chappells live near Monroe in LaSalle Township, in a comfortable neighborhood on Lake Erie.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.