Couple's bodies found inside charred house

September 9, 2009 4:58:01 AM PDT
What if two loved ones died in a house fire that no one was aware of? That horrific scenario unfolded overnight when a Smith County sheriff's deputy was asked to check on the welfare of a couple living in a subdivision about 10 miles east of Tyler.

The family of 58-year-old Lester Battee and 60-year-old Nelda Battee grew concerned when they couldn't reach them Tuesday. A deputy found nothing amiss outside the brick home about 11 p.m. Tuesday, but he spotted Lester Battee's body through a window.

Smith County Assistant Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson says the flames never made it outside the home. Nelda Battee's brother, Gail Jackson, tells the Tyler Morning Telegraph that none of the neighbors were aware there had been a fire.

No cause has been determined, and autopsies have been ordered.

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