DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - An apartment fire in northeast Dallas is being investigated as a homicide after two adult males were found dead inside. The incident happened just after 4:00 a.m. Wednesday morning at the Villa Joya Apartments, located in the 11200 block of Woodmeadow Parkway.
Apartment residents woke up to the smell of smoke and quickly got out of the burning building. Samantha Burch got out of bed and starting banging on the doors of her neighbors, including that of the men who were killed. “I just saw a big old cloud of smoke, pounded on their door and literally just yelled out their names,” she said. “Couldn’t get no answer.”
The first-floor fire was quickly put out before it was able to spread to other apartment units. When investigators got inside, they discovered two men dead on the floor – one white and one black. Authorities said that evidence suggests the men did not die from the fire, but rather a violent altercation that happened earlier Wednesday morning.
Investigators believe that the fire was set in an attempt to cover evidence of a murder. That attempt was unsuccessful, and police have been on the scene recovering evidence since the fire was extinguished. The case is being handled as a capital murder investigation.
“It’s just an attempt to destroy the crime scene, is what it is,” said Dallas Police Homicide Lt. David Pughes, “So we’re investigating, trying to determine the cause of death, who might’ve been here.”
The names of the victims, believed to be 59 and 61 years old, were not released pending notification of next of kin. Autopsy results are pending.
Police have not yet named a suspect in this case, but believe whoever is responsible most likely knew at least one of the two victims.
“I think when we ultimately track down the person responsible it’ll be somebody that’s known to the people that live here,” Pughes said.
The victims’ car was apparently taken and investigators want to find it. It’s a 2002 silver Saturn L-200 four-door with Texas license plate 5-C-V-D-N.