Woman's body found in burned house - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman's body found in burned house

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August 10, 2006

Dawson -- The family of a Dawson woman is mourning. Sixty-seven-year-old Lee Whitney was found dead after a fire swept through her house. 

In this quiet historic district of Dawson, neighbors are used to seeing each other during their daily routines. "Basically when you pass through the neighborhood, you normally see her sitting in her rocking chair," says neighbor Eleanor Turner.

This morning she didn't see Whitney in her usual spot. "On my way to take my kids to school this morning. What did you see? A bunch of fire trucks, and neighbors, and a lot of commotion."

Whitney's home was on fire. Dawson Police got the call before 5:00AM after a neighbor called 911.

"With the help of the county fire department and the city fire department we got everything contained and we got this situation under control and we called the state fire marshal," says Charlie Whitehead, Director of Public Safety.

They found Whitney's body inside. Investigators believe the fire started in the master bedroom, but at this point, there's no definite cause. Though investigators are trying to determine whether Whitney was smoking.

"It has to be investigated, we don't want to speculate. When the state fire marshal wraps everything up they will make a determination as to what caused the fire," Whitehead says.

For now, family members and neighbors remember the woman they'll miss. "Every time that you saw her she was peaceful."

And pray their community won't go through this again anytime soon. "To see that its so close in your neighborhood you can't help but to be sad something tragic is happening in your own neighborhood."

Lee Whitney's body was taken to the crime lab for an autopsy. Fire investigators do not believe foul play is involved.

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