Lake County woman's death ruled homicide after fire investigation
LAKE COUNTY — A Lake County woman's death has been ruled a homicide, following investigation into a fire at her home.
At about 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, police and fire departments responded to a structure fire on North Lakola Road in Ellsworth Township. By the time first responders arrived, the home was fully engulfed with flames.
Human remains were located at the scene. An autopsy conducted at Blodgett Hospital positively identified the remains as 79-year-old Evelyn Louise Ware, the homeowner from the fire.
On Friday, the Michigan State Police announced the Lake County Medical Examiner’s office has ruled Ware’s death a homicide, according to a news release.
However, no additional details were given about the circumstances surrounding Ware's death.
"Due to the sensitivity of this case, we are not releasing the manner of death," said Detective Sgt. Joe McMillan, of the Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post.
Detectives from the MSP Mount Pleasant Post, Hart Post, and 6th District Headquarters, along with investigators from the MSP Fire Investigation Unit continue to investigate.
Police are asking for the public's help with the case, requesting anyone with surveillance systems and/or trail cameras in the area surrounding 1487 Lakola Road (Lakola/14 Mile Rd) contact the MSP Mount Pleasant Post, so footage can be reviewed for possible evidence.
"In any investigation, but especially one of this type, we're looking for public help to solve this," McMillan said. "The use of video technology is often a route we utilize to bring resolution."
Trail cameras set up within a couple miles of the scene could be helpful in the case, he added.
"Right now we are working every possible angle and lead we do have," he said.
Ware was a former member of the Lake County Sheriff’s Posse and the former director of Pine River Schools Transportation. Units responding to the fire included the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police Mount Pleasant Post, Luther Fire Department, LeRoy Township Fire Department, Lincoln Township Fire Department, Tustin Fire Department and Reed City Fire Department.
Anyone wishing to provide information regarding the case can remain anonymous by contacting the Cadillac Area Silent Observer at (231) 779-9215 or (800) 528-8234. Tips can also be submitted through P3tips.com. To contact the MSP Mount Pleasant Post to offer surveillance/trail footage, call (989) 773-5951.