HOLT, Ala. (WIAT) — Shaw Drive in Holt is typically quiet, but early Sunday morning Greg Donley heard a different loud boom next door where Lakendel Church and her mother live.
“If it had been anymore, or I’d seen some flames or something when I stuck my head through the peephole of the door or through the window, I could have called 911,” Donley said. “I didn’t see anything like that.”
Inside, the kitchen had been swallowed by flames.
The loud boom was likely caused by cans exploding under pressure. It all went unseen until Church’s mother got home from her overnight shift.
The fire department didn’t have to extinguish the fire. When Church’s mother returned home, the fire was out.
However, something else was wrong.
“Power was off, the house was dark, and unless you knew that you were looking for a person, she wouldn’t have been very easily missed,” Lt. Dale Phillips said. “The mother had reported to the fire department that her daughter was gone.”
But in actuality, her daughter never made it out of the house.
Lakendel Church’s mother discovered her body on the floor of a bedroom inside the house.
Investigators believe the fire started somewhere in the kitchen.
Their main question remains, though. Why wasn’t Church able to escape safely?
They’ll know more when they have an official cause of death.
2014 WIAT-TV CBS42