Three months after two residents and a person believed to be their acquaintance died in an arson at a secluded Wetzel County home, State Police Sgt. J.E. Shriver said the investigation is moving forward.
"We have come up with some persons of interest who we are looking at pretty hard," Shriver said. "We have also eliminated some persons of interest who we initially thought might be involved."
Though Shriver said DNA testing is ongoing to officially identify the victims, investigators believe residents Carmen and Michael McDougal died in the Jan. 13 fire that destroyed their home on Cliff Run Road, just outside the community of Littleton. Officials believe the third victim is Jimmy Kisner, 48, of Aleppo Township, Pa., whom Shriver said was an acquaintance of the McDougals.
File Photo by Casey Junkins
State Police Sgt. J.E. Shriver says there are some persons of interest in this January arson that killed three people near Hundred.
"The community out here is frightened by what happened," Shriver said. "But people also want answers. They realize that three lives were taken. And the families want closure."
Shriver said he and another trooper are consistently working on the case, adding the Moundsville detachment has been sending a trooper in to support the small Hundred office.
"It is harder to investigate things like this out here because a lot of things are just done by word of mouth. Cellphones don't work out in these hills. This is just old-fashioned police work," he said.
Shriver said officials are not yet sure why someone committed this crime, which is further complicating the investigation.
"We are having trouble finding a motive," he said. "We are not sure if one or two of them may have been the targets, while the other was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or what."
The McDougals' home was the only house on the very narrow, bumpy and muddy road in rural Wetzel County. The structure and some nearby vehicles were destroyed.
Firefighters and emergency services workers could not reach the home with their normal vehicles, as they had to resort to pulling a hose to the scene to extinguish the fire.
However, Shriver does not believe the victims could have been rescued because the blaze was so large and intense.
Shriver said anyone with information concerning the case should contact the Hundred detachment of the State Police at 304-775-4488.
Also, according to the West Virginia Fire Marshal's Office, any information leading to the arrest and conviction of an arson suspect may result in an award up to $5,000.
The Arson Hotline Number is 1-800-233-3473.