NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) - A Natchitoches man has been arrested after a decomposing body was discovered at the scene of a trailer fire.
The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal (LAOSFM) posted on Facebook about the arrest Wednesday, Feb. 24. They say Ronald Griffith, 58, had been living with the body of a deceased roommate for several months.
Griffith was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Jail on Feb. 21 on one count of unlawful disposal of remains. Other charges are possible.
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The body was discovered when firefighters responded to a trailer fire in the 1900 block of Highway 6. Investigators were called out to the scene after the body was found. A dog’s body was also discovered, LAOSFM officials say.
Identification and official cause of death are still pending, but the victim is believed to be a 49-year-old woman from Mississippi who had been intermittently staying at the trailer with Griffith, the homeowner, for the past couple of years.
Fire investigators say the fire started in the kitchen. It’s unclear how exactly is started, but an electrical malfunction connected to unattended space heaters may have contributed.
LAOSFM reports that Griffith claimed to have allowed the woman to stay in his trailer after finding her sleeping at the cemetery where he worked. Griffith claims that when he found her dead one day, he left her body in the bedroom rather than reporting it to authorities.
This investigation is ongoing.