EPD handling death of man found after fire as homicide; identity released

EPD handling death of man found after fire as homicide; identity released
Gerard Elliott Matts. (Evansville Police Dept.)
Police say they are now handling the death of a man who was found after a fire as a homicide. (WFIE)
Police say they are now handling the death of a man who was found after a fire as a homicide. (WFIE)

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Police say they are now handling the death of a man who was found after a fire as a homicide.

Fire crews found the body of 41-year-old Gerard Elliott Matts Sunday while battling a fire at a building in Read St. Police say Matts's body was severely burned in the fire.

Based on the autopsy, investigators believe Matts was dead before the fire started. While investigators believe his death was a homicide, the cause of death is not being released at this time.

Police tell us he was homeless living in Evansville. Police say because of that, it makes it more difficult to find people he was friends with or may know of what happened.

"We have a belief of how he died. We're not going to release that information at this point. Our hopes are that someone comes forward that has either heard something about Mr. Matts death or may have been there and witnessed something, and the information that they would provide us would be something that only someone with direct knowledge of this incident would be able to provide," Sgt. Jason Cullum said.

Sgt Cullum says this case is a classic who-done-it case, which is different than a lot of cases the Evansville police work.

The fire happened on Sunday and firefighters found Matts's body inside the abandoned building which makes it hard to know the events leading up to Matt's death.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Matts' death or the fire to call 812-436-4013 or anonymously to WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME.

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