Saturday, September 3, 2011
Officials investigating a homicide and structure fire here early Friday morning announced Saturday that a second body had been found in the debris of the residence on County Road 1027.
“As we were filtering through the rest of the house, a second body was discovered at approximately 7 last night,” Callaway County Sheriff Dennis Crane said Saturday. “We know the first body was a male, the second female.
“Neither has been positively identified — we’re hoping to get that from dental records — but we know the homeowner, Michael Wieberg (56), has not been located, and his daughter, Amanda Wieberg (33) — whom we were told might have been at the residence — still is missing. So our assumption, at this point, is they are our victims.”
The Callaway County Emergency Operations Center received a call at approximately 4:57 a.m. Friday, at which point Crane said the North Callaway Fire Protection District and the Auxvasse Fire Department responded, assisted by the Martinsburg Fire Department.
“Inside the residence, they discovered a body. The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office yesterday, and preliminary findings indicate that the victim was deceased before the fire — there was no smoke inside the lungs or trachea,” Crane said, noting the house was a total loss. “There also were a couple of wounds on the torso area that were suspicious.
“Because of the suspicious injuries and the fact that the fire had occurred after the victim was deceased, the medical examiner ruled it a homicide.”
He said deputies investigating the homicide initially were searching for Amanda Wieberg and her Dodge van — which they also were told should have been at the scene. The van was found Friday afternoon abandoned in Audrain County.
“We were concerned yesterday when she could not be located that she might be a victim, and right now it appears that may be (the case),” Crane said.
He said several fire marshals at the scene of the fire Friday told sheriff’s deputies that making a positive determination as to whether it was arson “could be impossible because (the house) was so far gone,” noting that they do know in what area of the home the blaze started.
“Because of the homicide, we speculate that the fire was to cover up or destroy any physical evidence,” Crane said. “Whomever is responsible, it definitely appears they were trying to cover their tracks.”
He said his investigators currently are working on victimology studies of the two suspected victims, noting “the greatest percentage of homicides occur by an unknown (to law enforcement) associate of the victim, but we are keeping in mind that it still could be a random crime — we don’t want to get tunnel vision.”
With the extent of the damage caused by the fire, he said it is undetermined what, if anything, is missing from the home. The investigation is ongoing.
“We’re still looking for anybody who knows anything about the victims, what happened, or who may have seen something unusual,” Crane said. “If they have seen them in the last several days, we want to hear from them.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Callaway County Sheriff’s Office at (573) 642-7291, or Callaway County Crime Stoppers at (573) 592-2474.