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Published: 7/7/2011

Gunshot killed man found inside house in Sylvania Twp.

BY MIKE SIGOV AND DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Sylvania Township Fire Department personnel clean up at the scene of the homicide and fire. Sylvania Township Fire Department personnel clean up at the scene of the homicide and fire.
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Authorities' announcement Wednesday that a Sylvania Township resident whose body was found early Monday in a burning house had been shot to death left neighbors restless for more details to calm their worries about the crime.

"We don't know who did it. We're just kind of anxious to find out exactly what happened," said Jeff Fry, who lives next door to the house at 5128 Inland Drive, to which fire crews were dispatched at 5:29 a.m. Monday.

"I am just very surprised that it happened in this neighborhood," Cindy Simon, another neighbor, said. "It is very scary that something like that can happen just two doors down."

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy Lucas County coroner, said the death "is definitely a homicide."

Shane Cartmill, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office, said Wednesday the fire has been ruled an arson.

"The fire was intentionally set to cover up the homicide," Mr. Cartmill said.

The victim has been tentatively identified as L.C. Lyons, Jr., who is listed as the homeowner in Lucas County land records. However, Dr. Beisser said that the identity would not be official until after a dental examination this week.

The cause of death was a single gunshot wound in the head, the deputy coroner said.

RELATED CONTENT: The Blade 2011 Homicide Report

Robert Boehme, Sylvania Township police chief, said police had no suspects as of Wednesday evening, but the investigation was in a preliminary stage and detectives were "talking to people."

Gawkers occasionally drove down the dead-end street Wednesday afternoon to take a look at the house, where a large boarded-up window with just a hint of soot above the frame was the only visible evidence of what had happened.

Ginny Duffee, a neighbor, said she and her husband, James, had made Mr. Lyons' acquaintance about four years ago after he bought the house with the intention of reselling it after renovations.

Mr. Lyons did a fantastic job remodeling the home, Mrs. Duffee said, but the local real-estate market tanked at about the time he was finished so he simply moved in.

While the renovations were in progress, the Duffees occasionally mowed the grass and did other yard maintenance to keep up the house's value, Mrs. Duffee said.

"My heart goes out to his family," Mrs. Duffee said, adding that "nobody has the right to take somebody else's life.

"He was always happy. He had such a hearty laugh," Mrs. Duffee said. "It's mind-boggling."

Other neighbors said they didn't know Mr. Lyons nearly as well.

"He would drive by and wave, but that was about it," Mr. Fry said.

"As far as I knew, nobody really lived there," said Raymond Klinger, who lives one house farther out on Inland and across the street. His view of the Lyons house is obscured by trees.

"Obviously, they took care of the place," he said.

Mr. Klinger said he considered the homicide "just a random-type thing" but said he would be happy to know more about the circumstances.

"I'm definitely worried," Mr. Klinger said, adding later, "It's all up in the air."

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com. or 419-724-6089.



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