Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Woman's Death Ruled Homicide

Boise, July 24, 2012 - Boise Police are investigating the death of a 74 year old woman as a homicide. The woman’s body was found during a fire at her home on the 5800 block of Randolph Drive early yesterday morning (see initial release below).

Cause of Death: The Ada County Coroner has preliminarily identified the woman as Phyllis Ward, 74. Ward was a resident of the home on Randolph. Ward’s cause of death has been identified as blunt force trauma as a result of multiple blows to the head by a blunt force instrument. According to evidence gathered by the Coroner's Office, the fire appears to have begun after Ward died. 

"This is tragic for this family and her neighborhood. Mrs. Ward is a long time resident of Randolph Drive. For both her family and our community, we're working very hard to find answers as to what happened to her and why," said Sgt. Mark Barnett of the Boise Police Violent Crimes Unit.

Foul Play: Officers have been on scene since the fire was reported and have collected other evidence that appears to support the Coroner's findings that Mrs. Ward was the victim of foul play. However, so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation into Mrs. Ward's death, additional details including the nature of evidence collected is not being released at this time. The investigation into the cause of the fire now becomes part of a homicide investigation and is also not available for release at this time.

Crime Stoppers: Officers have not yet made any arrests in this case. At this time, there is no suspect information to relay to the public. Officers ask if anyone has any information that may be related to this case, they're urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS, or log onto www.343cops.com, or text CRIMES or 274637, subject: Tip236. A citizen can remain anonymous. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of criminal suspects.

The victim's family in this case is receiving services through the Boise Police Department Victim Services Unit. 

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   Boise, July 23, 8:50 a.m. - Boise firefighters are still on scene of a house fire on the 5800 block of W. Randolph Drive. A neighbor called 911 reporting smoke coming from a corner of the home and saying someone may be inside. Firefighters did find a victim's body inside the home.

   At this time, investigators are awaiting further information, including confirmation of the victim's identity from the Ada County Coroner.

   What Happened: Firefighters were called to the home at 7:37 a.m. this morning after two callers reported to 911 dispatchers they saw smoke  coming from a back corner of the home. One caller said someone may be inside the home. Because of the concern for victims, fire commanders called a 2nd Alarm bringing additional firefighting and rescue resources.

   Immediately upon arrival, firefighters began rescue operations. However, the victim was found deceased. The victim appears to have been the only person in the home at the time firefighters arrived.

   Damage: Much of the home suffered heat damage, the worst being the rear corner of the main level of the house where fire damage also went into the walls and attic.

   Cause: The cause of the fire and further details remain under investigation.