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February 7, 2014

Harrisburg fire near crime scene

MILLEDGEVILLE — Investigators remain steadfast trying to solve the weekend murder of a Harrisburg man.

Walter D. French, 25, of 105 Harrisburg Road was shot twice Sunday night.

French succumbed to gunshot wounds to the neck and abdomen shortly after 3 a.m. Monday at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon.

Capt. Brad King of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office said Friday a preliminary crime lab autopsy confirmed the gun wounds as the cause of death. Authorities aren’t positive about the weapon used in the attack or a toxicology report at this time.

In addition to the murder investigation, local authorities are also looking into a fire that occurred at the same location as the fatal shooting early Wednesday. 

“There was a fire a day later at the same residence,” King said. “County arson investigators are working on it. We had a detective down there with them. It hasn’t yet been ruled accident or arson.”

King said French’s body was found in the yard of the particular Litenham Trailer Park unit.

Baldwin County Fire Rescue responded to a call for service around 1 a.m. Wednesday at the same location.

County fire chief Troy Reynolds said, according to the owner of the home, no one was supposed to be living there.

“It was not officially rented out,” Reynolds said. “It did have power on it because they had been working on it getting ready to rent.”

Firefighters held the fire to the living room area and suppressed the flames quickly.

No connection between French’s murder and the nearby fire are confirmed.

“We can’t positively state that it was related, but it’s certainly very coincidental,” King said Friday.

Concerning the murder investigation, King said investigators have gathered a good bit of key information and are waiting to “see how it all pans out.” There still isn’t a clear suspect or motive at this point.

“We think we are closing in,” King said. “We are running down some things, doing interviews and waiting to see what some of the cellphone information we’ve requested tells us.”

Anyone with information regarding either case is asked to call BCSO’s anonymous tip line at 478-445-5102.

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