HEBRON | As if losing his wife and four children in a mobile home arson fire 15 years ago in Hebron wasn't bad enough, Mike Weber also had to deal with accusations he was the one who torched and killed them.

Weber -- a truck driver who was 225 miles away in Wisconsin when the fire occurred -- was jailed for 2 1/2 months until evidence freed him. As a result, he lost the semitrailer he was three months from paying off.

Weber, who police say no longer is a suspect, would like to see the case solved so he could have closure and so the killer or killers could be held accountable.

"I want people to understand. I want people to know the truth," Weber said.

Weber said if he could get a message to whoever killed his family or has information about the crime, it would be: "Step forward. Do the right thing."

The 55-year-old Weber said the June 30, 1994, tragedy and what followed has taken a toll. He's filled with anger and has had two heart attacks and a stroke. He can no longer drive a truck.

"It's all because of this case," Weber said.

Weber said he's too broke to offer a reward for information, but Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said the county utilizes the WeTip hot line, which offers up to $1,000.

"The case is now 15 years old, and we believe there are still people who have information that hasn't been turned over to law enforcement -- and we'd hope they would do that," Gensel said.

Police Maj. Steve Lawrence, who talks with Weber regularly, said detectives would pursue any tip.

If the case ever is solved, Weber wants to look the suspects in the eye and see they get whatever punishment the law allows. Earlier, Weber made comments that he wanted to take the suspects to town square and cut their throats.

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"But it's not my job. I'm going to let God handle it, and I'm going to let the justice system take care of it," he said. "My family is watching me (from above)."

Weber believes he's still alive because of God and because of "the promise I made to my wife children to find out what happened."

Weber said he harbors hard feelings against the federal agents who incarcerated him after his family's death before it was realized the evidence didn't support the charge. But he is thankful for other federal agents who pursued the truth along with Porter County police and prosecutors.

Weber's mother, Mary Miller, hopes her son can someday find peace.

"He lost his life (to the stress and grief)," Miller said.

"When he sees them (the perpetrators) getting justice, his nerves will calm down. He'll become a nice person. He'll be a joy to be around, maybe."

Weber thinks about how his life would be different if the fire had never happened.

"My life wouldn't have been a total hell," he said, adding his anger and his fragile mental health are understandable. "Don't condemn me until you've walked in my (expletive) shoes and have had to endure what I had to endure."

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Tim Manteuffel at (219) 477-3138 or WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Tim Manteuffel at (219) 477-3138 or WeTip at (800) 78-CRIME.

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