Questions Linger In Deadly Vancleave House Fire - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/16/05

Questions Linger In Deadly Vancleave House Fire

"There's nothing left. It burnt to the ground," says Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd.

That fact has left Federal, State, and Jackson County investigators very few facts about how and why Louis and Wanda Bouchard's home burned so violently and so completely and why two people, believed to be the Bouchards, perished in the flames.

"Dr. McGary is performing an autopsy now, and a pathology report on one of the victims in the fire. We won't know anything on the other one until DNA testing is done."

However new information on Wanda Bouchard's past has come to light. Records from federal court reveal that Wanda spent the past week and a half under house arrest for passing bad checks.

She pleaded guilty last fall and was sentenced March 4th to seven months of home confinement and seven months in prison. Those facts make police even more anxious to find out whether the two bodies found here are indeed Wanda and her Canadian-born husband, Louis.

"We don't want to assume anything," says Byrd. "We want to be able to let family member know that, yes, this is that person or no, it's not. But when you have a situation where you can't tell, we certainly want to make sure we give them accurate information."

Sheriff Byrd anticipates that at least one of the bodies will be positively identified within the next 24 hours. But DNA testing on the other remains could take longer. Byrd says the results will determine if this was simply a terrible tragedy or a vicious crime with many strange twists.

by Don Culpepper

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