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Man charged in Caldwell County arsons struck woman 24 times, left body in tub: Court documents

Caldwell County fire
Posted at 4:27 PM, Nov 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-07 23:38:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A man accused of setting three fires to cover up the murder of a woman allegedly struck her in the head 24 times then placed her body in a bathtub.

Harold Edwards, Jr. is charged in with the murder of Lorene Fickess, 96, last May near Polo, Missouri.

Fire crews found Fickess' body after putting out a fire May 10, 2022, at a house near Southwest State Highway D and Southwest Colt Drive.

Edwards allegedly used a heavy, sharp bladed object with a beveled edge to kill Fickess, according to a probable cause statement.

In addition to striking her at least 24 times in the skull, he also allegedly struck her upper torso then placed Fickess' body inside the tub near her bedroom.

To cover up Fickess' murder, investigators allege Edwards set the residence on fire then drove to two other abandoned homes on the same road and set more houses on fire to attempt to conceal the murder.

Investigators used cell-phone data to place Edwards at each location during the alleged spree.

While searching Edwards' phone, investigators also allegedly found child pornography. He was charged with first-degree murder, first- and second-degree burglary, possession of child pornography, second-degree arson, abandonment of a corpse, and armed criminal action.

Tony Kagay, an attorney for Edwards Jr. said he is incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center without bond.

“I would emphasize that the filing of charges, even serious ones, is simply an allegation made by the State," Kagay said in a statement to KSHB 41. "Mr. Edwards is presumed innocent unless and until he is convicted of any charge. My client and I have faith in the criminal justice system and look forward to the case being resolved fairly."