Crackdown on Crime - Body found in burning abandoned home

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Though the flames have long been extinguished, there's still a lot of burning questions as to how this fire started off North Lincoln Street back in early November.

"I was in the house in the kitchen finding something to eat and I saw three individuals running in the back of the house. I didn't pay much attention to it at first, but then I started to eat and all of sudden smoke started to come into the kitchen," said neighbor Tim Washington.

Inside the burned out abandoned home lay the body of 17-year-old Joshua Frank. Through witness accounts and investigation Lake Charles Police and fire investigators determined it was arson. The coroner ruled the victim died of smoke inhalation with no signs of trauma or drugs in his system. While those questions have been answered no one is quite sure what young Joshua Frank was doing inside the home.

"We are at a standstill on some of this investigation in terms of having information to move forward with to determine if it was a homicide or a natural death," said Lake Charles Police Sgt. Mark Kraus.

Crime tape is still a reminder of what happened at 620 N. Lincoln, but perhaps the most lingering question of all: just who were those two to three men seen fleeing the scene just moments before the blaze?

"We have some conflicting reports about people being at the house and fleeing from the house versus those people may have been the person who were going to call 911 and the fire department for some help," explained Sgt. Kraus.

While their motives are unclear, even less is known about the description of these mystery men -- witnesses describing them as black males in their early twenties.

"We want those answers, not just hopefully to pursue a criminal investigation, but want those answers for this family that's bewildered and wondering right now what happened to their teenage son," said Kraus.

The house remains condemned but due to the investigation hasn't been torn down. If you have information in this case call Lake Charles Police at 491-1311 or Crimestoppers at 439-2222.