Investigators now say a woman found dead in a burned-out Anderson County home Tuesday had been trying to set the vacant building on fire.
The Anderson County Coroner’s Office said Wanda Morrell, 56, died while she and her husband Clifford Morell were part of a group trying to burn down the Mountain View Road house (which the Morells did not own) located roughly five miles northwest of Starr. Morrell died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide toxicity, according to the Coroner’s Office.
Morrell originally told Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies that he and his wife had been cleaning the home when he left to get coffee. When he returned, the building was on fire and his wife was trapped inside, he said. Investigators said Mr. Morrell had burns on his hands by the time they arrived.
However, deputies said they became suspicious because the home had no power and they could find no natural cause for flames to flare up.
The case has been ruled a homicide. Clifford Morrell has been charged with arson, according to jail records.