Early morning Anderson house fire turns into a crime investigation

Apr 1, 2014 7:54 PM

A house in Anderson goes up in flames early this morning, but there's a twist -- two dead bodies, a trail of gas, and a gunshot wound.

"I'm in absolute shock."

That was Susan's first reaction when she saw this: her childhood home charred -- memories turned to dust.

Neighbors said they heard an explosion around 6:15 this morning, and that's when they saw flames spewing from the home.

"I heard a couple of explosions...the windows blew out."

A sweep of the house by police and fire investigators turned up a can of gasoline near one of the bedrooms.

"...there is an indication that the fire was started on purpose."

Two body bags were taken out of the home by forensic investigators this afternoon.

Anderson police say the victims were male and female, and the male had a gunshot wound to the head which appears to be self-inflicted.

Police say the female had been deceased for several days.

"I want to make it clear...both were found in separate bedrooms...both were adults...)

Neighbors say the victim was depressed because he recently lost his house for not paying the property tax.

"...He just got served an eviction notice."

Susan and her husband had no idea what happened until she got a call from her nephew this morning.

"...he called and said I have very bad news for you."

They recently moved back to Redding to take care of Susan's mother; police don't know if she's the female victim.

"We're just trying to stay positive and optimistic as we can..."

Anderson police and fire officials are treating this as a homicide investigation, and it could be months before they can piece everything together.

Police have not officially released the names of the victims.

Meanwhile, Susan is asking the Anderson community to keep an eye out for her mother, Claudia Riley, in case she was placed in a nursing home.


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