Details are emerging about an arson fire that involved a dead body Tuesday night in Salem’s Southway Villa Mobile Home Park.
Although an autopsy was unable to divulge the identity of the body found, the probable cause affidavit states during an interview with police, the alleged murderer killed a male in the fire.
28-year-old Salem man Joshua Risinger allegedly told police he killed a man named “Gilbert” by starting a fire in the home.
He has been charged with one count of Murder, a Class A Felony.
Rumors swelled on social media Wednesday, noting that Resinger had killed a homeless man.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said they were working on leads, but had no identity of the victim.
Goodin said further testing will be done to determine if the victim was killed before the fire or as a result of the fire.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by ISP Detective Matt Busick, Risinger told police the mobile home belonged to him.
Det. Busick said this was not a complete statement of facts, but established probable cause for police to make the arrest.
Risinger has been held without bond and will appear in court today for his initial hearing at 2p.
Salem Fire Department received the call at 7:03p after Lenny Hays called 911 and said her neighbors house was on fire.
Salem Fire Department firefighters were on the scene from about 7p until early Wednesday investigating the fire. When they had extinguished the fire, fire fighters found a deceased body inside the mobile home.
The home was located at 212 Teresa Street and was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
According to police, mobile home park manager Roddy Humphrey said he saw a man he knew lived in the burning home walking through the mobile home park.
Humphrey said the man was wearing a jacket, had something over his head and was carrying a duffel bag.
Salem Police Officer Alex Bilbrey patrolled the area and found the man walking on Jackson Street.
Bilbrey along with Assistant Police Chief Tim Miller stopped him and he was identified as Risinger and the owner of the home. He told police, according to the affidavit, that the trailer was on fire and he had just walked away.
Miller came to the scene of the fire and was told by officer Russell Wilcoxson that fire fighters had found the body in the middle of the living room.
Originally the State Police noted that Risinger was arrested on Arson and Murder charges. However, Risinger has only officially been charged with murder.
According to the Washington County Prosecutor’s office, the Prosecutor’s office chose to file only [a] murder [charge] at this time because it appears that the fire was started with the intent to kill.
An autopsy was performed Wednesday morning by the Kentucky Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville, KY on the remains.
The autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death pending further test results. The autopsy was also unable to positively identify the human body located, until further tests are completed.
Salem Fire Chief Tom Day said he was on the scene until early this morning with the Indiana State Fire Marshall to help investigate the crime.
Day said it would be a few days before a cause of the fire could be determined. “That information will be released by the state police,” said Day.