Person of Interest in Mattoon House Fire Found Dead, Official Says | Crime and courts

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MATTOON — The Mattoon Fire Department reported that a recent house fire is suspected to have been caused by arson and a person interested in the investigation was later found dead at a Charleston cemetery.

Fire Chief Jeff Hilligoss said in a news release Monday morning that a joint investigation by the Mattoon Fire Department, Mattoon Police Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office Illinois has determined that the house fire Wednesday morning at 805 Moultrie Ave. in Mattoon was suspicious in nature because evidence at the scene indicates that this fire was started intentionally.

The news release says investigators have identified a person of interest in connection with the fire and the Mattoon Police Department has attempted to locate the individual. The statement said investigators learned that this individual dropped off his pets Wednesday morning at the Coles County Animal Shelter after the fire was reported.

According to the release, a deputy from the Coles County Sheriff’s Office found the individual deceased Saturday morning at Roselawn Cemetery, 1274 W. State St., Charleston.

On Monday, Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers reported the man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the cemetery.

The Mattoon Fire Department has advised that it, along with the Mattoon Police Department and the Office of the Fire Marshal, will consider this arson investigation closed at this time. The fire department will still work with the owner and the insurance company during the remainder of the insurance company’s investigation.

“Please keep the family and owners in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time,” Hilligoss said in the press release.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud

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