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Police & Fire

Domestic violence call leads police to home before fire, explosion

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    The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a body was recovered after a home explosion late Wednesday.

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    Local firefighters respond as U.S. 20-A is shut down due to a standoff and house explosion in Swanton.

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    Resident Jennifer Daubenmeyer, left, is comforted the day after an explosion leveled her home along U.S. 20-A just west of Swanton.

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SWANTON — An incident that ended with a home leveled and a person dead in Swancreek Township started three hours earlier with police responding to a domestic violence report.

Swanton village police officers arrived at 2513 U.S. 20-A  at about 5:19 p.m. Wednesday, according to a police report. Earlier that day they had received a heads up from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office: Terry Daubenmeyer, 56, had cut down a tree across the driveway to keep outsiders from approaching his home. The sheriff might need police assistance there at some point.

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The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a body was recovered after a home explosion late Wednesday.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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On Wednesday afternoon the officers found Jennifer Daubenmeyer, 46, and her two teenage children in the front yard. They told police Mr. Daubenmeyer “went crazy” and “lost it,” a report states. He had cut power to the house the night before and had been “taking the basement apart.”

They tried to leave, but he threw bricks at their vehicle, shattering the front and rear windshields. “Logs, tractor equipment and brush,” blocked the exit.

That’s when they called 911.

Police on scene asked Mrs. Daubenmeyer and her children if there were any weapons in the house. An unloaded shotgun sat in the living room, they said, with ammunition in a back bedroom.

A standoff ensued. Five hours later the home was leveled by an explosion, a person was dead, and a small-town community was left coming to terms with everything that had transpired. 

Details remained vague Thursday. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office confirmed a body was recovered from the home, but would not release a name “until positive identification is obtained.” Fulton County Coroner Dr. Rick Yoder said identification and an autopsy were pending. 

Sheriff’s officials said a woman and two children had been removed from the home by a victim advocate before the standoff. 

A police officer between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. saw a man matching Mr. Daubenmeyer’s description lean out a rear sliding glass door and throw what appeared to be a bag outside. All the officer saw after the man went back inside was the blinds and door occasionally moving, reports state.

A fire broke out next. Sheriff’s officials in a news release said they believe the man started it.

At about 8:12 p.m. “the entire residence exploded,” a police report states.

State officials said a propane leak caused the explosion, but released no other information. The state Fire Marshal is investigating. 

Swanton Fire Deputy Chief Gary Roytek said he was on scene Wednesday night, standing about 30 yards from the house at the time.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” he said.  

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Local firefighters respond as U.S. 20-A is shut down due to a standoff and house explosion in Swanton.

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A neighbor, Kathy Downing, stood Thursday behind yellow tape that surrounded the property. She wanted to see if anyone had cared for a group of horses standing unharmed inside a barn, which never caught fire despite being near the home.

“We feel bad, but we just wanted to know what’s going to happen to the horses,” she said. “I’ve been worried about it all night.”

Ms. Daubenmeyer arrived at the home with another woman late Thursday morning. She did not speak with a reporter. She went toward the back of the property, where others gathered, hugging her. 

Another woman, who identified herself as a family friend, asked reporters to leave the front of the Daubenmeyer property. 

Mr. Daubenmeyer was charged with domestic violence and resisting arrest earlier about two weeks ago.

Fulton County Sheriff’s deputies and a Swanton police officer responded to the home for a domestic violence incident on Aug. 16, according to a Swanton police report.

The report did not specify what the domestic violence incident entailed, but Mr. Daubenmeyer made threats toward the officers and did not comply with orders, the document states.

On Aug. 24, he was sentenced in Fulton County Eastern District Court to 8 days in jail and given credit for 8 days served, according to court records. He was ordered to complete a batterers program and comply with prescribed medication.

Contact Ryan Dunn at rdunn@theblade.com, 419-724-6095 or on Twitter @rdunnblade.

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