Thursday, 18 April 2024

REGIONAL: Property belonging to Glenn County supervisor catches fire, human remains found

GLENN COUNTY – A residence on land belonging to a Glenn County supervisor burned this weekend, and the remains of an as-yet unidentified person were found in the rubble.

Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones reported Tuesday that the uninhabited residence – located at 6260 County Road 25 west of Interstate 5 and south of Orland – burned Sunday evening. It was owned by District 5 Supervisor Leigh McDaniel, 55.

At about 7:40 p.m. Sunday, Melvin Yancy, 67, who resides in the 6000 block of County Road 23, reported to the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office that there was a very large fire, south of his residence, according to Jones.

Sheriff’s deputies and the Orland Fire Department were dispatched. Emergency responders found an unoccupied home, approximately 2,800 square feet in size, fully involved. Jones said that Orland Fire Department, supported by the Artois Fire Department, provided an aggressive initial attack; however the dwelling was a total loss, with an estimated value of $150,000.

As the fire was suspicious in nature, the Glenn County Arson/Bomb Task Force was contacted and the on-call team, led by Team Leader Det. Kelly Knight of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office, responded, Jones said.

When the fire had been suppressed to the point of allowing investigators into the burned rubble for an initial assessment, Jones said the charred remains of an adult human were located in an area in or near what would have been the living room portion of the dwelling.

The entire area of the fire and the farm it is part of, was cordoned off. Jones and Lt. Richard Warren were notified of the situation, and deputies and fire personnel provided crime scene security throughout the night.

At daylight, additional sheriff’s detectives, assisted by California Department of Justice crime scene technicians and criminalists, and forensic pathologist Thomas Resk, M.D. commenced their investigation. Jones said they would be supported later in the morning by arson investigators from Cal-Fire.

Orland Fire Department personnel returned to the scene to cool hot spots so investigators could complete the arduous task of methodically sifting through the burnt out rubble, Jones said.

The human remains were found to be that of an adult male in his mid-thirties. A charred identification card was located; however a positive identification by dental records will be necessary by a forensic odontologist. An autopsy has been scheduled for Thursday, Jones said.

Members of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Posse were called to guard the entrances to the ranch and crime scene and maintained security throughout the night.

Investigators returned to the scene Tuesday morning to continue sifting through ashes and debris, said Jones. Detectives from the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit continued their investigation.

Jones said McDaniel related that he has owned the property since 1999 and maintained a farming operation there. He has not rented the home for the past two years and has allowed the home to remain vacant and unfurnished.

McDaniel told investigators that the home had been burglarized two years ago this month. Thieves had ripped out walls and removed copper electrical wiring and copper plumbing. An estimated $500 worth of copper had been removed and an estimated $9,500 worth of damage was done, this according to McDaniel’s report, which the sheriff’s office responded to on April 12, 2008.

According to Jones, McDaniel stated that he had maintained electrical service to an outside breaker box which, to his knowledge, was in the off position, thus disallowing electricity to the interior of the residence. Damaged water pipe had not been repaired, so there was no water supply to the home. McDaniel also indicated there was no propane or natural gas being supplied to the home.

He said that, to the best of his knowledge, the residence was locked and secured.

McDaniel had no idea of the identity of the victim, Jones said.

The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone who may have been in the area of County Road 25 on the evening of the fire, or who may have any information regarding the possible homicide, call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-934-6431 or the Secret Witness Line at 707-934-6627.

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