Investigators speculate about identity of remains found in burned house

June 27, 2011|By DON AINES |

No identification has been made of the human remains found in the rubble of a burned house near Clear Spring earlier this month, but investigators were examining the possibility that they are those of the husband of the tenant, Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce D. Bouch said Monday.

Authorities have been unable to contact Harry Ira McMullen, 61, formerly of Chambersburg, Pa., since the fire, Bouch said.

McMullen and the woman who rented the house, Robin McMullen, were granted a marriage license in Washington County in December. Robin McMullen was listed on the marriage license application as Robin Dawn Keefer.

The fire occurred the morning of May 27 at 15219 Fairview Road, and the house was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived. The house collapsed into the basement, and investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and an insurance company found the remains as debris was being removed June 7.

Robin McMullen was in Iowa for training at the time of the fire, and Harry McMullen, a truck driver, was believed to be staying with a friend in Pennsylvania, Bouch said.

Harry McMullen was listed as living in Chambersburg on the marriage license, and Franklin County Voter Registration Office records show that he was living on Philadelphia Avenue in November.

Harry McMullen has not been heard from since around the time of the fire, although an exact date of when he was last seen has not been pinned down, Bouch said.

“The possibility exists (that the remains are his), but until we have a factual determination, we can’t operate on guesswork,” Bouch said.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore was evaluating forensic evidence and has not come up with an identification or a cause of death, Bouch said.

The cause of the fire also remained undetermined, Bouch said. The Fire Marshal’s Office has looked at several hypotheses, but the damage was so complete that “it’s very possible we may not come up with a cause,” Bouch said.

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