Kansas Officials Seek Answer to Body in Burned Building

Wichita (KS) homicide detectives and arson investigators are seeking answers in the death of an 65-year-old man found in a burned apartment, reports The Wichita Eagle.

The man's body was discovered by someone cleaning in the apartment. The apartment was the scene of a fire reported on Dec. 27, Capt. Joe Evans said. The fire was ruled accidental due to an electrical issue.

"We're still not sure as to exactly what's going on here," Evans said after the body was found.

The fire started in the living room near the front door, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. While the incident caused an estimated $15,000 damage to the apartment and its contents, he said, there was little actual fire damage, and it was confined to the area around a space heater, an extension cord and a power strip.

The victim was found in a bedroom under several layers of clothing by the foot of the bed, Crisp said. Maintenance workers had been clearing and cleaning the apartment for days.

"There wasn't any fire damage in that room," he said, though there was quite a bit of smoke in the apartment caused by the fire.

Neighbors told firefighters and a search-and-rescue team they hadn't seen the tenant for two or three months.

"They thought he had left the country," Crisp said. "We were under the impression he wasn't even around."

A search-and-rescue team still went through the apartment, which was filled with clothes, VHS tapes and other clutter in what Crisp described as "an excessive storage" situation.

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