Bond: Suspicious house fire deaths being treated as homicides

July 23, 2013

The Pettis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Tuesday that a pair of suspicious deaths discovered after a west-central Pettis County house fire are now being investigated as homicides.

Pettis County Sheriff Kevin Bond said autopsies performed Tuesday by the Boone County Medical Examiner’s Office in Columbia positively identified the victims as Barbara A. Hudson, 56, and her son, Jeremiah A. Hudson, 26, both of rural Green Ridge.

Bond said investigators have not yet determined a cause of death but are “treating their deaths as homicides.”

“This is a preliminary investigation, so it is too soon to speculate on a motive or the cause of death,” Bond said.

According to Bond, the Green Ridge Fire Department was called to a house fire on Morton Road shortly after 9:30 a.m. Monday, and Green Ridge and La Monte Fire Department crews fought the blaze until around 1 p.m.

Pettis County deputies and the Missouri State Fire Marshal were called to respond to the scene after firefighters discovered a body inside the residence. Upon further investigation, authorities located a second body in the home.

On Tuesday, detectives from the Pettis County Sheriff’s Office, Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office, and Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Drug and Crime Control Unit collected and recorded evidence at the scene.

“We called them in to assist with the crime scene on Tuesday,” Bond said.

The sheriff has also activated the West Central Missouri Major Case Squad to assist in the investigation, and the squad will convene this morning.

Bond encouraged anyone with knowledge of the crime to contact his office by calling 827-TIPS.

“They can call the Sheriff’s Office as well (827-0052). We will likely establish a direct number into the major case squad,” Bond said.