Ottawa County authorities investigating fire death

Thursday, June 27th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ Authorities are investigating the suspicious death of a rural Wyandotte man whose body was found in a burned mobile home.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Weston J. Edwards, 40, died because of the fire or during a violent knife attack before the blaze, authorities said.

``We are going to have to talk to people to find out what was going on in this man's life,'' said Steve Nutter, an agent with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. ``We've classified this as a suspicious death, but we're not in a hurry. We won't rush to judgment.''

Edwards was found Tuesday by an Ottawa County deputy responding to a fire on a bluff above Grand Lake.

The fire is being investigated as an arson, said Bob Green with the state fire marshal's office.

A preliminary investigation shows Edwards might have been trying to put out the fire and was injured, said Ottawa County Sheriff Dennis King. A garden hose was running full blast near the home when firefighters arrived.

Edwards arms were burned. He had a severe slash wound on his arm and hand, officials said. Investigators said he might have bled to death.

Autopsy results are pending.