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Published: Friday, 2/15/2008

Missing man's body found in fire's aftermath

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Detective Jay Gast investigates the scene of a fire at 1025 Marmion Ave., where the body of Gordon Wright was found. Wright Albert Richardson, a friend of Gordon Wright, leaves the burned house after speaking with Toledo police detectives. Detective Jay Gast investigates the scene of a fire at 1025 Marmion Ave., where the body of Gordon Wright was found. Wright Albert Richardson, a friend of Gordon Wright, leaves the burned house after speaking with Toledo police detectives.
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When Gordon Wright didn't come home for dinner Sunday - like he did each week - his parents started to worry.

His mother, Aretha Overton, reported to police Tuesday that she hadn't seen or heard from her 24-year-old son for almost a week, police said.

The same day he was reported missing, Sgt. Phil Toney said police searched the duplex at 1025 Marmion Ave. where Wright was known to stay.

They found nothing.

Albert Richardson, a friend of Gordon Wright, leaves the burned house after speaking with Toledo police detectives. Albert Richardson, a friend of Gordon Wright, leaves the burned house after speaking with Toledo police detectives.
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Then, about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, someone set fire to the duplex and firefighters discovered a body hidden in a third-floor attic, Sergeant Toney said.

Wright's body had been inside the house for "at least a couple of days," but Sergeant Toney said it's unclear for exactly how long.

His death is Toledo's first homicide this year. No one had been arrested last night in connection with the murder, police said.

An autopsy performed yesterday showed Wright died from blunt head injuries, said Dr. Cynthia Beisser, Lucas County deputy coroner. She said there were no other injuries.

Wright Wright
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A man who answered the door yesterday afternoon at 1944 Sussex Pl., where Wright's parents live, declined to comment.

Police said Wright had died before the fire was started at the central-city house on the corner of Marmion and Midway Plaisance Street.

Flames were visible from the second floor when firefighters arrived Wednesday. The fire was under control about 8:45 p.m.

Fire Investigator Andre Tiggs said several fires were set on the second floor, causing about $14,000 in damage. He said one other resident was home when the fire started and escaped without injury.

After the fire was under control, firefighters on the third floor broke through a half wall to check whether the fire had spread and that's where they found the body, authorities said.

Sergeant Toney said the body was well concealed in the attic and it was "by chance" that firefighters found it.

At least a dozen people, some who knew Wright, walked by the partially burned house yesterday; others stood across the street on the sidewalk.

While taking puffs of his cigarette, Albert Richardson said he began worrying on Sunday after not being able to reach his friend by phone for two days.

Mr. Richardson, who has been friends with Wright since they attended Hale Elementary School together, said he last saw him early Friday morning when he dropped him off at 1025 Marmion.

"I was nervous," Mr. Richardson said.

On Monday, Mr. Richardson said he went over to the duplex and talked to another man who lived there. He said the house was "eerie" and he noticed the furniture inside had been re-arranged.

The 26-year-old said he called police later that day.

Another friend, Ralph Harris, also sensed that something was wrong after no one had heard from Wright for a few days.

"Nobody had talked to him," Mr. Harris said. "We knew something was wrong."

He said Wright has a daughter, who is about 3 or 4 years old.

"He really didn't deserve it. He's a good guy," Mr. Harris said. "Who's going to take care of that little girl?"

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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