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The body of a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., man was found shot and burned after firefighters were called to put out a blaze inside a vacant South Jamaica home Sunday, and an acquaintance said he left behind a young child.
James Minor, 35, was discovered in the basement of the 146th Street house with an accelerant near his body, according to the NYPD, which neighbors said had not been occupied for at least six months.
Firefighters received a 911 call reporting the blaze just after 9:30 a.m. and rushed to a house near the corner of 120th Avenue in South Jamaica. After the fire was placed under control half an hour later, Minor’s body was found inside, the NYPD and FDNY said.
Detectives and the NYPD’s Crime Scene Unit were at the house throughout the day, and a fire marshal said the incident was under investigation.
The medical examiner’s office said Minor’s cause of death had not yet been determined as of late Wednesday.
A woman from Poughkeepsie who did not want to be identified said Minor did not actually live at the Montgomery Street, which police had given as his address. She said the mother of his child had previously lived there and Minor used it as his mailing address.
The woman estimated that Minor’s child was about 6 years old.
Police told the Poughkeepsie Journal that Minor has had extensive contact with law enforcement there, and pleaded guilty to selling a controlled substance in 2007, which he admitted in court was cocaine, the journal reported.
South Jamaica residents who had long lived on the quiet block were shocked Sunday.
Kenneth Browman, 71, lives across the street and said the house had been empty for months, while other neighbors said it was vacant for years.
“Nobody was living there,” he said. “It’s strange.”
His son saw smoke rising from the building and roused Browman, who was later surprised to find a body had been found inside.
The house is listed as belonging to a woman named Lorraine Sapp, but the last posting was a mortgage agreement from 2008, according to the city Department of Finance.
Several people who said they were Sapp’s relatives as well as neighbors said Sapp died about two years ago. identified themselves as Sapp’s relatives, as well as several other neighbors, said Sapp had died about two years ago.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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