The DPD is investigating the death of a child, found alone in an abandoned west side house after a fire Sunday morning.
Firefighters discovered the body after extinguishing a blaze at a duplex at 2916 and 2918 Waverly St near Davison and Linwood. According to DPD spokeswoman Sgt Eren Stephens, the body was burned beyond recognition; it was not possible to determine its age or sex.
Just hours earlier, police had received a 911 call that a 5-year-old girl was missing from her home on Burlingame, about one mile from the Waverly duplex. Police concluded that this child, Mariha Smith, had been abducted from the living room where she slept. They immediately issued an Amber Alert.
So far the DPD is treating the two matters separately, claiming they have no concrete evidence that the incidents are connected.
Meanwhile, the Waverly house investigators do not know whether the child was dead before the fire started, or was a victim of it.
The Fire Department called the blaze “suspicious.” The DPD later claimed that it was arson. The fire started at about 8:00 AM yesterday, but the duplex was fully involved when firefighters arrived.
The DFD has indicated that the fire’s point of origin was in the living room, near a mattress where the child was apparently lying down.
A witness who lives near the house told police that she had seen a man walking either out of the house or near it.
An autopsy of the dead child, scheduled for later today, should reveal the child’s sex and cause of death. Identification may require dental records or DNA testing.
The investigation, of course, is ongoing, so stay tuned.