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February 21, 2013

Two bodies found at site of Walton fire

By Richard Whitby
The Daily Star

---- — Two bodies have been found in the rubble of a Walton house destroyed by a fire Tuesday while a pair of law-enforcement officers were at the site.

According to state police, Walton village Police Chief Brian Laauser and Karl Vagts, a senior investigator for the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, were conducting a criminal investigation at the property about 2 p.m., when they heard two gunshots and raced into the house, where they discovered a woman’s body.

About that time, the two officers realized the house was on fire and left the building, said state police Capt. James Barnes of Troop C in Sidney.

Another set of remains was found in the basement of the house at 294 John Lockwood Road after firefighters extinguished the flames, according to a state police media release.

Barnes declined to say whether the deaths were the result of a double homicide, a murder-suicide or some other cause.

“That’s what we’re investigating,” he said. “We don’t know at this point.”

He also said that he could not, as of Wednesday, identify the bodies, both of which were burned, although he would not say whether they were charred beyond recognition.

Barnes said he did have possible identities for the two bodies but would not release them until autopsies confirmed who they were.

“The identification process is ongoing,” he said.

Both sets of remains were taken to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

Walton Fire Chief Bob Brown said the building was fully involved when firefighters arrived.

“It was pretty much a lost cause,” he said. “We did an exterior attack on it, but it was well under way when we arrived.”

Brown said Walton firefighters had assistance at the scene from the Delhi Fire Department, with Trout Creek firefighters standing by at the Walton fire station.

There were no firefighter injuries, he said.

Barnes declined to describe the criminal investigation that Laauser and Vagts were conducting at the house .

“I do have that information,” he said. “I’m not releasing it at this time.”

He also would not say whether law enforcement had been called to the John Lockwood Road address before.

“That I can’t comment on,” he said.

Authorities secured the site overnight, and state police resumed their investigation Wednesday morning. They asked that anyone with information contact them at 561-7400. All calls will remain confidential, they said.

According to Delaware County tax records, the property is owned by Patrick Bosco of Vergennes, Vt. Online real estate records listed the house as a 896-square-foot ranch built in 1988, with two bedrooms and one bath.