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Parascience Expert Visits Oklahoma To Study Mysterious Burning Death

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Photo of Vanzandt's home, from CBS-affiliate KFSM, in Fort Smith. Photo of Vanzandt's home, from CBS-affiliate KFSM, in Fort Smith.

A researcher with ParaScience International flew to Oklahoma this week to get more information on a suspicious death in Sequoyah County. Autopsy results are pending, but experts say it could be a case of spontaneous human combustion.

"Just because it's rare doesn't mean it's impossible," said Larry Arnold, director of ParaScience International, in an interview with CBS-affiliate KFSM in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

A mysterious death has local authorities stumped. "The nature of his burn injuries are something that has captivated our interest," Arnold said.

Arnold flew from Pennsylvania to Sequoyah County to study the death of Danny Vanzandt, 65. Last month deputies say Vanzandt was found dead in his home on Bawcom Road.

2/18/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Man Dies In Fire, Spontaneous Combustion Not Ruled Out As Cause

Some believe it could be spontaneous human combustion.

"We cannot say that it is," said Arnold. "We cannot say that it isn't nor can any investigator because the only way that determination could be made at this point is if there was an eyewitness to the event. There is no eyewitness."

Sequoyah County Sheriff Ron Lockhart says they are still waiting on an autopsy report from the medical examiner's office.

Investigators say the victim may have burned for 10 hours. The rest of the house did not suffer damage.

"Preternatural human combustibility is the situation where the body becomes consumed almost completely to powder in an environment otherwise devoid of significant heat, flame damage," Arnold said.

Arnold hopes to get more information from Vanzandt's family. "At this point we don't have an answer," he said. "All we have are theories and it's an ongoing mystery."

Arnold also plans to visit the medical examiner's office if at all possible on the trip.

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