KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new report obtained by the KSHB 41 I-Team reveals the motivation behind a Kansas City apartment fire where two researchers from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research were found dead.
An incident report from KCFD says the primary motivation for the fire was crime concealment.
KCFD responded to the fire in early October and discovered Camila Behrensen and Pablo Guzman-Palma.
The story has gained international attention since Guzman-Palma is from Chile and Behrensen was born in Argentina.
The I-Team took the report to former Johnson County Prosecutor Paul Morrison to get some insight.
"What it says to me is that these people were murdered and that whoever did it, set this fire to try to cover it up," Morrison said.
The report also said the fire was "incendiary in origin." Morrison said that means it was intentionally set.
Morrison told the I-Team cause and origin experts are the ones to figure that out.
"Often times, they look for accelerants at the scene of the crime. Sometimes, they look for accelerant trails. They can usually pinpoint where a fire starts and what this means in this case is that somebody set that fire on purpose," Morrison said.
Morrison said covering up a crime with a fire is not unusual. Typically, he said the person behind it is not sophisticated enough to cover up their tracks.
"Usually, it doesn't work because it's fairly commonly done in homicide scenes and investigators are usually pretty good at determining the cause of death," Morrison said.
As for the investigation, police are hoping an Amazon Alexa in the apartment could lead them to some clues like the person behind the crime.
The Stowers Institute issued a new statement to the I-Team on Wednesday:
The Stowers Institute community is devastated by the loss of two exceptional predoctoral researchers. We are thankful for the Kansas City Police Department’s efforts towards their dedicated work in this investigation. As we continue to grieve, out of respect to the two families, we ask for their continued privacy.
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