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GREENEVILLE – Authorities believe that a Greeneville house fire may have been set to cover up a murder.
On Sunday, emergency crews responded to a house fire at 1117 W. Main St. and discovered two people - Elizabeth Cooter and Roger Dewayne Aiken - inside.
Cooter was dead when responders found her, while Aiken was taken to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.
Because of the nature of those injuries, however - which authorities did not reveal - Greeneville Fire Chief Mark Foulks said he and other responders thought there was more to the incident than a house fire.
“We’re ruling it as basically a homicide and arson,” Foulks said. “The injuries the victims sustained were inconsistent with fire-related injuries. It’s believed there was foul play involved on the front end of it, and the arson was actually there to cover up the crime.”
Foulks said the Greeneville Police Department will be heading up the investigation, with the GFD, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Bomb and Arson Investigation, and Tennessee Highway Patrol assisting.
The investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with any information is encouraged to call the GPD’s tip line at (423) 783-2868.