A man from Natchitoches has been arrested after it was discovered he had been living with the decomposing body of his roommate for an extended period of time.
Ronald Griffith, 58, has been charged with one count of unlawful disposal of remains and could be facing additional charges, KNOE 8 News reported Wednesday.
The body was discovered after a fire broke out in Griffith's trailer. Natchitoches Fire District #6 responded to a fire alert and, after battling the blaze, came across the remains as well as the body of a pet dog in the ruins of the residence. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in for assistance and it was determined the human body had been dead prior to the fire.
It is believed the remains belong to a 49-year-old transient woman from Mississippi, although her official identity and cause of death is pending an autopsy. According to reports, she had been staying with Griffith in his trailer intermittently for the last two years.
Speaking with deputies, Griffith claimed he discovered the woman sleeping in the cemetery where he worked and invited her to stay with him. Griffith explained that he discovered her dead one day but rather that notify authorities, he instead decided to leave her body in the bedroom where he found her.
Deputies assessing the scene meanwhile suspect the fire had erupted from the trailer's kitchen. It may have been caused by an electrical malfunction that arose from unattended space heaters, although an official cause is yet to be confirmed.
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