Investigation Leads to Answers in Fatal House Fire

Wapello County, Iowa – At approximately 9:17 p.m., Saturday, March 9th,  the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a house fire on 194th Ave., approximately 6 miles west of Ottumwa.  Upon arrival of firefighters from Blakesburg and Wapello Rural Volunteer Fire Departments, it was discovered a single family residential structure was found to be heavily involved with fire.

The body of a deceased male subject was discovered at the scene by firefighters.   The cause of death was initially unknown and the body was transferred to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, where an autopsy was performed.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known and an investigation was conducted by Wapello County Sheriff’s Office and Blakesburg Volunteer Fire Department.  They were assisted by Ottumwa Fire Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Division.


The following are the findings of the investigation into the 194th Avenue house fire and death of Jeremy Craycraft, age 33, which occurred on Saturday, March 9th, 2019.  (As detailed in a press release from Wapello County Sheriff’s Office.)

March 9th:

Mrs. Tangi Craycraft arrived at the Wapello County Law Enforcement Center with her children. She reported that her estranged husband Jeremy showed up at the residence with a gas can and knife.

Approximately four minutes after Mrs. Craycraft’s arrival at the Law Center and while she was talking to Deputies, Wapello County Dispatch received a 911 call of a house fire and dispatched fire departments to 194th Avenue.

Once Deputies and fire departments arrived they discovered Jeremy Craycraft just a few feet from the house. Firefighters pulled Jeremy back away from the house and discovered that he had passed.

March 10th:

Deputies discovered video showing Jeremy purchasing a gas can just 15 minutes before arriving at the 194th Avenue house. Video also showed Jeremy filling the gas can with gasoline just 10 minutes before arriving at the house. The State Fire Marshal’s Division has ruled the house fire as Arson.

March 11th:

An autopsy was completed and preliminary findings appear that Jeremy died from self-inflicted wounds. The final autopsy results are pending.

This will conclude the investigation.