Body found inside burned home sparks homicide investigation

Crime scene tape surrounds a home in the 200 block of West St. Marys Street in Decatur after authorities discovered a body following a possible arson. (Nov. 30, 2017)


DECATUR, Mich. (WOOD) — Van Buren County sheriff’s officials are investigating a death at the scene of a possible arson.

Emergency responders were called to a fire in the 200 block of East St. Marys Street in Decatur around 8 a.m. Thursday. After putting out the fire, they discovered the body, according to Van Buren County Sheriff Dan Abbott.

“Based on how the body was and how the origin of the fire appears to have started, it’s been treated as an arson-homicide at this point until we determine otherwise,” he said.

The sheriff said the victim has been identified as 31-year-old Jessica True Wallace.

Abbott said evidence leads investigators to believe the case is indeed a homicide “based on the scene and the facts that we already have.”

So far, no arrests have been made in the case.

“We’re running with several leads right now,” Abbott said.

Crime tape surrounded the home Thursday afternoon. A neighbor who has lived in the area for about 25 years tells 24 Hour News 8 that the burned home was a rental house. She said she saw “young people coming and going,” but didn’t get to know her neighbors that well.

The sheriff tells 24 Hour News 8 investigators do not believe the public is in any danger. The FBI Task Force and a drug task force are helping in the investigation.

***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the crime scene at 200 West St. Marys Street, not 200 block of East St. Marys Street, based on information given by authorities. This error has since been corrected.***