Body discovered after fire re-ignites at residence in Madison County

On the night of Jan. 28, 2001 many local residents were watching a local athlete participate in Super Bowl XXXV, where the Baltimore Ravens would go on to defeat the New York Giants.

Former Madison County Sheriff Dave Lewis remembers that night very well, but for a more tragic reason.

Around 9:15 p.m. on that cold January evening, Madison County 9-1-1 received two phone calls reporting a fire at the Gregory Boswell residence on Highway JJ.

The first deputy arrived on the scene 13 minutes after the first call to find the home fully engulfed.

According to the investigation report, the north side of the building was on fire and the interior filled with heavy black smoke.

The Marquand Fire Department arrived 16 minutes after the deputy. Some 50 minutes later, at 10:36 p.m., the deputy reported observing white smoke coming from the eaves of the home.

The next morning at 6:03 a.m., three more calls were made to Madison County 9-1-1 advising the same structure was on fire. Both Cherokee Pass and Marquand fire departments responded.

This time, however, a discovery was made.

According to the report, Deputy/Firefighter Phil Sarakas observed what he believed to be a body in the ashes and rubble of the home. The Madison County Coroner, State Fire Marshal’s office and sheriff were called to the scene at that time.

Lewis reported he saw the body lying in a fetal position in the northwest area of the home.

An observation noted in the death investigation stated the outside door on the west side of the structure had been knocked down and that Lewis had observed the door nailed closed.

Shawnna Robinson is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at (573) 518-3617 or


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