House fire death in Waterford investigated as a homicide

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A body was found inside a Waterford Township house after a fire, but police are investigating it as a homicide.

"It's just scary and shocking, so sad," said neighbor Breanna Flury.

On Tuesday fire crews were called to a home on N. Lynn Street for reports of smoke coming from the house but when the fire was put out, crews discovered a deceased body. 

Neighbors say the victim is the 54-year-old homeowner. A neighbor says it was painful sharing the heartbreaking news with her husband.

"I just phoned him back and I said Stephanie passed," Elizabeth Hart said.

Police have not officially named the victim and will only say the person is a woman in her fifties. Neighbors say she lived in the home with her 12-year-old son.

"We don't know if he's with his dad," Hart said. "We don't know where he is at this point."

But less than 24 hours after investigators were called to a fire scene. Neighbors are hit with another shocker Wednesday morning. When police reveal that this is a homicide investigation. 

"I feel like I have to pinch myself, Is this really real?" Hart asked.

Police say they would like to speak to a man reportedly seen at the home twice, at 5 p.m. and then again at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

He's described as a black man, between 25 and 35 years old with a long face, nose and short hair. Witnesses say he's been seen at this home in the past cutting the lawn. 

Police say that man may have provided lawn care services to other people in this neighborhood and they not only want to find him but his vehicle also.

Witnesses tell police the man arrives and leaves in an older model mini-van white in color and rusted. Loading his grass cutting equipment into the back of the van.

Police want the public's help to identify this person and again locate the vehicle. 

Neighbors say homicides just don't happen in their neighborhood and they will now take extra steps to stay safe.

"It’s just really a scary, freaky thing, I’m actually going to get security camera put on my house,” Hart said. 

If you think you know the man or anything about what happened, you're asked to contact Detective Al Knapp of the Waterford Police Department at 248-618-6077.