NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A Natchitoches man has been arrested and accused of living with a the body of a dead roommate for several months, a discovery made after a fire over the weekend that destroyed their home.
Ronald Griffith, 58, is charged with one count of unlawful disposal of remains, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office. They say additional charges are possible.
According to the SFM, the body of a woman was discovered by firefighters with Natchitoches Parish Fire District 6 shortly after they were called to Griffith’s home in the 1900 block of Highway 6 late Sunday morning. Firefighters called state fire investigators because the woman appeared to have been dead before the fire.
While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy, investigators say the woman is believed to be a 49-year-old transient woman from Mississippi who had been intermittently staying at the trailer home with Griffith for the past two years.
Griffith claimed to have allowed the woman to stay at his trailer after finding her in the cemetery where he worked. He reportedly told deputies that he discovered her dead one day, and instead of notifying authorities, he left the body where he found it in the bedroom.
The body of a pet dog was also found inside the home. Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen area of the mobile home. While the official cause is still undetermined, the SFM says deputies have not ruled out the possibility of an electrical malfunction due to an unattended space heater as a contributing factor.
The investigation is ongoing.