MONROE, Mich. (WXYZ) - The ATF says chemists from Washington, DC are probing Tuesday's car explosion that injured a local attorney and his two sons.
They will try to figure out what kind of device was placed inside the vehicle.
Local investigators continue to chase down leads.
Meantime, school officials at St. Michael in Monroe say the two boys, Cole and Grant, are in stable condition and should make a full recovery.
Students and staff held a prayer service today. The school's principal, Michelle Sontag, says she has spoken with Erik Chappell's wife who says the boys are in good spirits and are sad to miss their upcoming football game.
Family friend Veronica Meyers says she spoke to Erik Chappell who told her the boys have flesh wounds. No arrests have been made, but federal agents say they have several leads.
In 911 calls released on Wednesday, Erik Chappell can be heard telling a dispatcher his car has exploded and his sons are severely injured.
The call from Chappell was made seconds after a bomb exploded in his car as he was taking his young sons to football practice.
Listen to his call in the video player on the left
Investigators are trying to figure out if this was a bomb with a timer, or if someone had to detonate the device that exploded inside Chappell's car. Sources tell Action News that Chappell was injured on the right side of his body in the blast, and his two young sons have had to undergo extensive surgery.
The bomb went off at 5:41 p.m. Tuesday on East Elm Avenue near I-75 in Monroe. Investigators believe it was a malicious act and say the device was placed in a way that would have the most impact on the vehicle.
Authorities say it was a powerful blast and the three family members are lucky to be alive.
Chappell was driving the two boys to football practice at St. Michael’s School in Monroe when an explosive device went off inside the family Volvo.
“It’s awful to think that somebody could do that. Especially with small children involved, it’s just very shocking,” said Morgan King. King lives across the street from the Chappell family in LaSalle, Mich. King says she always sees the Chappells outside playing with the children, and spending time on Lake Erie.
“That’s really scary. This is a small neighborhood, pretty close and friendly… They’re in our prayers, and we hope that we catch the guy that – whoever could have done this to them,” said King.
Action News Reporter Michael Rosenfield interviewed Chappell earlier this year for a news story about a controversial hot dog cart in the city of Monroe.
Chappell, an attorney, represented the plaintiff in the case who wanted to open up a hot dog cart in downtown Monroe, but was thwarted by city council. The case is still stuck in federal court.
Chappell is a managing member of his law firm, Lyden Liebenthal & Chappell Ltd., in Sylvania, Ohio. Action News Investigators have learned that the 42-year-old lawyer is known for handling a lot of business dispute cases. Sources also tell Action News that Chappell has recently been representing a client who’s involved in an extremely messy divorce case.
Chappell's law firm would not comment about the case.
Federal agents investigating the explosion say they can’t substantiate talk in the community that someone involved in one of Chappell’s case may have wanted to harm him – but they can’t rule it out.
“We’re looking at everything. We’re looking at – there’s nothing specific that’s leading us that we’re not going to stop there and say this is what we’re going to focus on… because that’s not the case. We’re looking at everything that’s coming in,” said ATF spokesman Donald Dawkins.
ATF agent Donald Dawkins said they are bringing in a scientist from Washington D.C. to help with the investigation.
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest in the case.
Investigators say they have several leads in the case, but nobody is under arrest.
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