RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Law enforcement authorities revealed Monday that all four unidentified homicide victims and a pet dog found at a fire at 4170 Buena Vista Road in Edgerton, Missouri, were incinerated outside the residence with an accelerant.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd and Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen held a press conference to update the public on what happened since the fire started. A “person of interest,” Grayden Lane Denham, 24, has been charged with stealing but no other charges.
Fire crews and law enforcement officers responded to the scene at about 11:41 p.m. Friday night, Owen said.
They found the burnt remains of two women and an infant in front of the residence, and a man’s body was found to the east of the home near an outbuilding along with a red plastic gas container, which lay approximately 4 or 5 feet from the body.
A preliminary autopsy revealed the four victims’ deaths are homicides, Zahnd said.
Law enforcement authorities haven’t identified the victims.
Denham, the “person of interest” law enforcement officers wanted to talk with, was arrested in Yavapai County, Arizona, on Sunday. Yavapai Sheriff’s deputies had received reports of a naked man walking on the streets of Seligman, Arizona.
When stopped at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Denham gave officers a wrong date of birth and no identification was found. Due to concern for his medical condition, Denham was transported by ambulance to Flagstaff Medical Center.
At about 10 a.m. Sunday, the manager of a local motel in Seligman reported a suspicious vehicle parked on motel property. The car was unlocked, with the key in the ignition and clothing laying on the ground next to the car. A wallet in the pants contained a Missouri ID card, showing the name of Denham and his true date of birth.
Denham is now charged in Missouri with felony stealing, Zahnd said. A bond has been set at $100,000, he said. Denham faces a possible maximum sentence on that charge of seven years in prison.
The defendant had no valid license to drive, the sheriff said. Denham lost his license due to excessive points and child support issues, Owen said.
The prosecutor declined to say if additional charges will be filed against Denham.
Yavapai County Sheriff’s deputies booked Denham at the Camp Verde Detention Center and he remains in custody there.
The suspicious vehicle was a brown 2012 Nissan Versa reported to have belonged to Russell and Shirley Denham, who lived at 4170 Buena Vista Road in Edgerton, Zahnd said. Authorities would not comment on the relationship between Russell and Shirley Denham and Grayden Denham.
The handicap Missouri license plates assigned to the Nissan Versa were missing, and Oklahoma plates, which also had been reported as stolen, were found on the car, said Owen. Authorities report the Oklahoma plates belonged to a rental car.
Platte County officials will seek to extradite Denham back to Missouri. Two Platte County sheriff’s deputies flew to Arizona on Sunday, Owen said. Additional deputies left Monday to drive to Arizona, he said.
Denham hasn’t been charged in the Edgerton fire, but Missouri authorities want to talk to the man because for a number of years he has lived at Russell and Shirley Denham’s house, which includes several acres and multiple outbuildings. The Metro Squad and four Missouri Fire Marshal’s continue to investigate the site.