There was nothing out of the ordinary about the request Danny Nelson received in a phone call from his 34-year-old son, Brian, on Thursday.
Would you babysit at 3 o’clock?
Danny and his wife, Marilyn, frequently pitched in to watch their grandchildren. But Marilyn, 74, has health issues that keep her close to home, and there were six grandchildren to wrangle now — including a 1-year-old and 2-year-old.
Danny asked if the children could come over to their grandparents’ south Tulsa apartment instead, so he wouldn’t have to take on all six kids alone in their Broken Arrow home.
“OK,” Danny said Brian told him, “but we’ll bring them over at 5.”
“Five came and went. Then it was 6. I texted them — no responses,” Danny said. “I turned on the 6 o’clock news, and they said there had been a fire near Hickory and Galveston in Broken Arrow. That’s where my son lives.”
Danny said he wasn’t worried — but he still felt compelled to go.
“I’ve had almost psychic feelings before, and dreams,” he said, explaining why he hopped in his car and made the 5-mile drive east.
When he pushed past the crime scene tape, he came upon a scene too horrifying even for a parent’s worst nightmares.
Broken Arrow Police said six children were found dead in a back bedroom of a 980-square-foot home that was on fire at 425 S. Hickory Ave.
But not from smoke or burns.
Two adults, whose bodies were found near the front of the house, are law enforcement’s prime suspects — meaning they could have been killing their children in the same time frame Danny was originally asked to come there to babysit.
Police have not released any more details or the identities.
But in their south Tulsa apartment home on Friday, the Nelsons told the Tulsa World in their first in-depth interview that their son Brian Nelson, 34, daughter-in-law Brittney Nelson, 32, and six grandchildren — Brian II, age 13, granddaughter Brantley, 9, grandsons Vegeta, 7, Ragnar, 5, and Kurgan, 2, and granddaughter Britannica, 1 — are the deceased family.