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Body found in burned out apartment

June 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man has been arrested in connection with a suspected arson fire in a Pacoima apartment in which an elderly woman's body was found.John Herreres, 37, was booked on one felony count of arson, but could face more charges later. He's being held at the Foothill Division Station on $250,000 bail. The man was allegedly living at the woman's apartment.

The body of 65-year-old Betty Ogilvie was found in her apartment on the 12200 block of Osborne Place on Thursday after a neighbor saw smoke coming out of the bottom of her front door and called 911.

When firefighters went into the Moonlight Garden apartment, the blaze had already fizzled out. They walked through the apartment and discovered the bodies of Ogilvie and her pet dog.

"I knew somebody killed her, I knew somebody killed her," said Ogilvie's granddaughter Kia Delouth.

Delouth told Eyewitness News that the woman had been missing for weeks. Delouth says Herreres had told her a different story every time she came by the apartment asking for her grandmother.

"She went to the store. She went here, she went there," said Delouth. "He had several excuses for last three weeks."

Ogilvie's neighbor James Valdez says he got the same runaround from the man before he saw the smoke coming from the apartment.

Neighbors told investigators that there was a second man seen living in the unit in recent weeks who drove a van.

Authorities suspect the fire was intentionally set. They say the woman was likely dead before the fire started. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death.

Delouth believes her grandmother died elsewhere, and was then brought back to the apartment. She says she had been inside the unit as recently as Wednesday night and had seen no sign of her. Yet investigators believe Ogilvie had been dead for days.

"She taught cook. She taught me how to clean. She taught me how to love [and] respect myself and others. She taught me how to pray to God, no matter what she always told me to pray," said Delouth.

The fire did not spread to any of the other apartments in the complex. Investigators say it only burned the area where the woman and dog were located, then burned out due to the lack of oxygen.

If you have any information you're asked to call LAPD detectives at (877) LAPD-24-7, or (877) 527-3247.

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