UPDATED: Suspicious Fire Death Under Investigation at Murrieta Apartment

An unidentified woman was found dead following the discovery of a fire in a downstairs unit Wednesday morning at the Waterstone Apartments on Hancock Avenue in Murrieta.

UPDATE 5:35 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1:

The Murrieta Police Department continued Thursday to put major resources toward investigating a suspicious death discovered when a fire broke out Wednesday in a Murrieta apartment.

While the investigation into the circumstances of the death in apartment V-103 at the Waterstone Apartments progresses, releasing specifics to the public through the media could jeopardize their work, Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad told Patch.

Authorities have not yet confirmed the identity of the victim, though a neighbor told Patch the person who lived there was a thin, African American woman.

"The Police Department is still awaiting official identification of the victim from the coroner's office," said Conrad, who oversees the department's detective bureau.

Patch has left inquiries with the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office, an employee of which said the body was "charred."

The fire was reported at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday. Fire and police officials arrived on scene within minutes to knock down the blaze. When searching for victims, a deceased body was found, authorities said. A 3- to 4-year-old boy was rescued by a neighbor, according to authorities.

As information becomes available, Murrieta Patch will continue to update this story.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31:

The crime scene at Waterstone Apartments in Murrieta was broken down at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, though Murrieta police would not be releasing further details in the case until at least tomorrow, Lt. Tony Conrad confirmed.

Mandatory evacuations of nearby apartment units were lifted, Conrad told Patch.


Murrieta police and fire investigators were on scene Wednesday of an alleged suspicious death in connection with a fire that broke out in a unit at Waterstone Apartments, 24850 Hancock Avenue in Murrieta.

The fire was reported at 6:45 a.m. and fire and police officials arrived at 6:49 a.m., according to Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

Authorities discovered apartment V-103 was "engulfed with smoke billowing from an open window," Conrad said, in a news release.

Firefighters entered the apartment and knocked out the fire. While searching for victims, they found a deceased woman, determined to be in her 30s, according to Murrieta fire Spokesperson Matt Corelli.

"The first crew arrived and found smoke and fire coming from three windows of a downstairs apartment," Corelli said in a news release. "Crews stopped the fire's progress and reported knockdown twelve minutes after they arrived."

Prior to crews' arrival, Corelli said a resident pulled a child from the apartment. The child, whose age was not provided, was treated by firefighter-paramedics at the scene and transported to a local hospital, he said.

One firefighter suffered injuries in the fire; he was expected to recover, Corelli said.

"Firefighters contained the fire to the unit were it began and remained on scene to check for nearby extension into other apartment units," Corelli said.

Based on preliminary investigation, police and fire officials have deemed the death suspicious.

"Murrieta police investigators along with investigators from Murrieta fire are on scene working this case as a suspicious death," Conrad said.

A large area surrounding the damaged apartment was cordoned off, and the Murrieta police and fire mobile command unit was brought to the scene.

Multiple detectives, firefighters and sheriff's personnel were on location.

Residents nearby were evacuated and unable to drive their cars if they were parked inside the taped-off area, Conrad confirmed.

A neighbor, Jessica Ewald, said she lived two doors down from the fire-ravaged apartment. She told Patch she was ordered not to drive her car, so she was borrowing her mother's.

She described the woman who lived there as thin and African American, though police have not confirmed her identity.

The investigation was expected to continue throughout the day, at which time more details may be released.

This story is developing. Stay with Patch for updates.

Chez E November 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Brenda November 20, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Becca, arent you on the patch alot when it comes to someones death? And you always seem to know them so up close and personal? I mean excuse me if I am wrong, and I certainly could be, but seems you were involved with quite a few, and fund raising? Perhaps Ms. Wanda's death also? Gosh maybe you do know all these people, I don't know. Was just wondering dear.
ERIN November 20, 2012 at 02:29 AM
first of all no nice words so imma say blank you u = you type at work on your touch phone and weather or not i can spell really isnt the issue here. If this was for a resume or for a paper or school paper and i was getting cked= checked/graded on my spelling then i would care but really dont and not only that have u=you ever heard of abbreviating??
LHJ November 20, 2012 at 03:41 AM
And what difference does it make to you, Brenda, whether or not someone has known many of the people who have died. Is it now a crime to be a social person? Or is it a crime in your book to care about so many people? Isn't it you who likes to get on these comments sections and talk about how people shouldn't have a go at other people, but should just send out condolences? I think it is you who likes to do that.. Why are you now going after Becca? Please take into consideration that some people pay attention to the double standard.
Becca November 20, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Brenda instead of diarrhea of the mouth don't you think maybe you should havr some sympathy. I've lost 4 people in the last couple of months. The latest being someone I was really close with. I am a social person with a job that I meet a lot of people so dont get on here trying to blast me when you don't know me or my relations to anyone. As far as a fundraiser for ms wanda... no that's not me. I don't know who that is.


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