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Ft. Myers Fla--Fatal Fire--Arson Suspected

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  • captstanm1
    Investigators Seek Suspect Seen Near Scene

    Police seek man seen near fire scene

    Investigation into death of woman continues

    By SARAH LUNDY, [email protected]

    Investigators are looking for a man seen in Fort Myers Shores around the time of a suspicious fire and death of a 62-year-old woman, authorities said.

    Firefighters responded to Marjorie Peck’s home on Second Street shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday. They pulled her body from the northeast bedroom, but were unable to revive her.

    On Wednesday, detectives still were trying to figure out how Peck died. An autopsy was performed, but more tests are needed to determine her cause of death, said Deputy Larry King.

    The state fire marshal is investigating the fire and referred questions to the sheriff’s office. Investigators will not release information about the fire until after the fire marshal and investigators compare what they found, King said.

    “This is a more intensive investigation, because we have so many different elements. You have the fire to look at, the death to look at and the neighbors’ observations. They all have to be looked into,” King said.

    A neighbor reported seeing a man inside the home shortly before the fire started. Others say they saw one or two men running from the home.

    King wouldn’t say whether the man wanted for questioning is the man people described at Peck’s home.

    The man is described as black with a medium to slender build. He’s under 6 feet tall and was wearing a white T-shirt.

    Anyone with information is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at 477-1000 or CrimeStoppers at 332-5555 or


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  • captstanm1
    started a topic Ft. Myers Fla--Fatal Fire--Arson Suspected

    Ft. Myers Fla--Fatal Fire--Arson Suspected

    Officials investigating ‘suspicious’ fire

    Woman, 62, found dead inside home

    By ALISON KEPNER, [email protected]

    A Fort Myers Shores house fire became a crime scene investigation Tuesday night as authorities tried to piece together what caused the midevening blaze and whether it led to the death of the 62-year-old woman inside.

    Firefighters pulled the body of Marjorie Peck from the northeast bedroom of her home at 13419 Second St., shortly before 7 p.m. but were unable to revive her.

    The fire, labeled suspicious Tuesday night, appeared to have been started in several spots, Lee County sheriff’s Capt. Randy Collmer said.

    A neighbor reported seeing a man inside the home shortly before the fire started. Other neighbors said they saw one or two men running from the home.

    “We’ve heard a couple of different circumstances” that are being investigated, sheriff’s spokesman Larry King said.

    Debbie Steele, who lives behind Peck, noticed flames coming from the home’s kitchen and bedroom areas. Her husband, Rex, jumped the fence between the homes’ yards and tried to get inside.

    With knees still bloody from cuts he suffered trying to kick the home’s windows in, he explained how he saw three separate patches of flames as he tried to put the fire out with a garden hose and reach anyone inside.

    Hours after the fire, he stood with other neighbors along the quiet, well-kept street. He looked at Peck’s body, now covered by a blue tarp in her front yard, and he shook his head as he took a drag on a cigarette. “I tried to get her out,” he said. “It was just awful.”

    About an hour before the fire, Rex Steele said he had noticed an unfamiliar man inside Peck’s home. The man opened the sliding glass door, stuck his head out, looked at him, and then closed the door, he said. “It didn’t really raise any red flags until the fire.”

    Rex Steele said he didn’t see the man leave, but several other neighbors said they saw a man fleeing through the home’s back yard.

    One man said he saw two men, one of whom he said fled on a bicycle.

    Deputies used a dog to sniff around the home Tuesday night.

    King would not say Tuesday night what the dog was searching for or whether it had picked up any scent.

    Rosa Hannah, 64, lives next door. She befriended Peck, who just moved to the neighborhood in May. “She was a nice, sweet lady,” Hannah said.

    Peck lived alone but had a daughter and son who live nearby, King said.

    An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, but King said Tuesday night that there were no signs of visible trauma. An investigation into the fire, which caused $20,000 worth of damage, is continuing

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