'Person of interest' in suspected arson found dead

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

FRIES — A man described by police as a “person of interest” in a suspected arson at 142 Sunrise Lane in Fries was found dead at his house Friday afternoon.

According to Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan, Thurman Davis was named a person of interest in a suspicious fire at his son-in-law's house on Sept. 11. He was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound at his own home on Providence Road the next day.

The fire occurred last Thursday afternoon, and after a preliminary investigation by the Fries Volunteer Fire Department, it was determined to be suspicious.

According to Vaughan, Davis, 50, was on scene when firefighters and the sheriff's department arrived. Davis had done some work previously on the house.

Davis was never questioned by the authorities.

Police received the call Friday afternoon that a body had been found at Davis' home. Vaughan said Davis was found dead, laying on his back with an apparent gunshot wound,

Vaughan did not disclose who found Davis' body initially.

The house that burned belonged to Davis' son-in-law Eric Callahan. Damage was estimated at $250,000.

Vaughan said search warrants for Davis' home had been obtained and the investigation was being handled as a homicide.

“We won't know details until we receive the medical examiner's report,” Vaughan said.

Davis' body was scheduled to go to the state forensics lab in Roanoke today, Monday, for an autopsy.

Both Fries and Galax volunteer fire departments responded to the house fire.