Police: Fire death a homicide

WARREN – The death of a woman pulled from her burning home on Friday has been ruled a homicide.

Warren Police Lt. Jeff Cole confirmed Monday that Lori Wishart, 41, of 461 Parkman Road S.W., died from asphyxiation.

However, investigators have not said whether she died before or after the fire started. There also has been no word on whether her death was related to the fire or if she was still alive when fire crews arrived at the home.

The Trumbull County Coroner’s Office said on Monday that the investigation is still pending.

However, Cole said investigators concluded there was foul play involved based on findings of a coroner’s report. An autopsy was performed Sunday.

“After we got the word from the coroner we hit the ground running on this,” Cole said. “Hopefully we’ll get more information through the investigation.”

As of late Monday afternoon, no one had been arrested and Cole said police had no suspects at that point.

Warren detectives were called to the scene of the fire almost immediately. However, they have not indicated what led them initially to suspect foul play.

According to initial reports, firefighters removed an unconscious Wishart from the home shortly after arriving at the scene. The fire broke out at 1:36 p.m. in the front living room, and Wishart was found in a back area of the first floor where there was no clear exit from the building, according to fire reports. Crews had the flames under control within 10 minutes of arriving.

No one else was at the home.

Hours after the fire, investigators with the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office could be seen carrying bags of evidence from the duplex. They would not say why they think the fire is suspicious.

The Trumbull County Auditor’s website shows a Jerald Wishart as the owner of 459 Parkman Road S.W. and a photo of the property clearly identifies the home that burned.

Warren Fire Chief Ken Nussle said Friday that although the two-story house, which has been under renovation, is still standing, the first floor sustained heavy damage. The building housed two apartments – one on the second floor that has been vacant and one on the first floor where Wishart was found. Scaffolding remained in front of the building used to install new roof trim and light-colored stucco around the second floor.

He said neighbors and witnesses told officials there had “been some activity the past several days.”

For example, neighbors said someone broke out a window within a few days before the fire.

Last week, Lori Wishart filed a report with the Warren Police Department stating teenagers threw apples at the house, breaking windows. She also filed a criminal damaging report with police on May 31.

Last Thursday evening, Warren police arrested a 34-year-old Warren man at the same address, charging him with possession of drug paraphernalia and as a fugitive.

Police said that although Lori Wishart had brushes with the law in the past, they are investigating her death as a single incident.

“We don’t want to speculate on anything,” Cole said. “At this point this is a homicide investigation. That’s the main thing that I want to make clear. Hopefully, we get more information to move on from here.”