Coroner doesn't expect to identify burned body until at least next week

December 13, 2013 

Police tape lines a road Friday, Dec. 13, leading to 5865 North Black Cat, where a man's body was found at a home that burned overnight. The fire is being investigated as an arson.

KATHERINE JONES — kjones@idahostatesman.com

— Ada County sheriff's detectives are not sure if a crime was committed after a man's body was found at a burned home on North Black Cat Road.

Deputies found a man's body near the garage of the home Thursday night. The fire at 5865 North Black Cat Road started at about 11:30 p.m. and is being investigated as an arson. The house was engulfed in flames when Meridian firefighters arrived. Because there were no fire hydrants on the site, crews had to use water tender trucks to extinguish the blaze. The home is a total loss.

As of late Friday, it was unknown if the man who died was resident Kenton Brandel. More forensic tests are needed to identify the body, Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said, and the coroner's office didn't expect to release more information until next week.

Ada County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Dearden said Friday evening that detectives spent the day piecing together what happened at the home and were trying to determine how the man died and how the fire began.

Brandel's ex-wife, Susan Fitzgerald Fox, was charged with burning a structure in 1994. She was sentenced in 1996 to five years in prison, but the judge retained jurisdiction in that case. Fox and Brandel divorced the following year.

Fox was one of the many people people detectives talked to on Friday, Dearden said, but she was not a suspect. Detectives were not looking for any suspects, Dearden said.

Detectives also did not believe there was a threat to public safety.

The sheriff's office characterized the investigation as complex and said it will take time to piece together. No new information was expected to be released until early next week.

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