Marissa and Marty Carpenter sit in the living room of their home in the Penn Daw section of Alexandria, still speechless from the horror they witnessed in the wee hours of Friday morning. 

Marissa, a receptionist, was watching TV in the living room at about 12:30 am when she heard calls for help from the house across Popkins Lane. Peering out the window, she saw black smoke and flames shooting from the windows of the second floor, and Louis Whitsett on the roof, crying for help. She immediately called 911, and called her husband Marty from upstairs. 

Marty Carpenter said he ran across the street only to see a shadowy figure emerge from the burning house and get into a car, a silver Honda Accord. “Is there anyone in the house?” Carpenter asked the woman. “No, it’s just me…I have to move my car,” he said the woman responded, in depositions he gave to Fairfax Homicide detectives and in interviews he gave which played on local newscasts.

There were others in the house, and the Alexandria community this week mourns thier loss. Morgan Whitsett, 16, and her 13-year-old sister Ashley perished in the fire which also sent their father Louis Whitsett to the Burn Unit of Washington Hospital Center.

As of Wednesday, investigators and homicide detectives are still not calling the fire at 2421 Popkins Lane suspicious, and are keeping mum about their investigation. The Carpenters story of the car speeding off, which is corroborated by at least two other neighbors, are asking their own questions. 

“If my house was burning I would care less about my car,” Marissa Carpenter said. “There would be nothing to pull me away from my house if someone were inside. Who would leave two little girls behind in a burning house?”

Marty Carpenter, an HVAC contractor, said he witnessed the woman return to the scene about 4:00 am, and looked confused. He said she was interviewed at the scene by homicide detectives. 

On Friday, a vigil was held at W. Potomac High School in honor of the girls. In a makeshift shrine of flowers and poems left in front of the home, classmate Marisa Lewis wrote: “Damn regular English. Bach will always be a poophead. No one will ever be able to call Sebastian [Bach] a jerk as well as you could. The laughter, the good old music theory group. The bus ride home, they won’t be the same without you. I will remember you always, and will never forget that Chopin is amazing (thanks to you). Love, Marisa Lewis.” 

Will Jernigan, 20, a next door neighbor, has started a relocation fund for the girls’ father. “We all came out when we heard the cries for help,” Jernigan said. “My dad brought out a ladder to access the upstairs but it was too late to do anything.” 

To make donations to the Louis Whitsett Fund, drop by a deposit at any Sun Trust Bank location in Alexandria, or call Jernigan at (703) 999-5515. 
Alternatively, you may mail contributions to:

Louis Whitsett Fund
7113 Bertram Lane
Alexandria, VA. 22306  

New Year’s resolutions
An Old Town health clinic is helping people to make and keep new year resolutions using a revolutionary form of biotechnology that uses the same technology as a lie detector.

The top 10 new year resolutions listed by the federal government web site include seven that are related to health. Published reports show that most people make resolutions for the new year, but within just two months the majority of people have already failed to keep or even pursue those resolutions.

Sally DiCesare of Old Town’s Chiropractic Associates works in association with other alternative practitioners and is helping people to select the best solutions for health-related goals and resolutions using new biotechnology, and is offering a free health assessment report as a community service to anyone who asks for help. 

Our bodies are talking, and they tell us what they need and want, DiCesare said. “This technology just enables us to understand what our bodies are trying to tell us. We then use that information to figure out the best way for people to achieve their health and wellness goals.”

The process involves placing a hand on a ZYTO hand cradle that is connected to a computer. The software then sends signals to the body and receives responses back using the same technology used in lie detectors, called galvanic skin response. Knowing the best solution enables us to see progress towards our goals, and the detailed health assessment printed report provided for free helps us stay motivated and on track, DiCesare added.

The Chiropractic Associates is located at 517 Wythe St. in Old Town. Appointments can be made by calling 703-220-9882.