LONGVILLE -- Arson is blamed in the Longville house fire earlier this month where the bodies of two people were found, the state fire marshal's office reported.
Deputy state fire marshal Mark Germain reported samples taken at the scene of the Feb. 7 fire tested positive for gasoline.
The house, located on Woman Lake, burned for several hours before the fire was noticed. In the remains of the home were found two bodies, though both were burned too badly to be identified.
The owners of the house were 47-year-old George and 45-year-old Emily Overmier. Cass County Sheriff Randy Fisher said today his office was still awaiting the results of DNA testing, but it is believed to be the Overmiers who were found in the charred remains of the house.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's office will make the determination on the identities of the victims as well as the cause and manner of death.
Fisher said his office is investigating the case as suicides based on information received from Larry Kimball, the Overmiers' lawyer.
The Overmiers mailed a letter to Kimball, that was delivered the day after the victims were found. The letter was turned over to Cass County investigators. Fisher said the letter clearly indicated the Overmiers intent to take their lives.
Calls to Kimball's office were not returned.
The note was intended to go to Cass County probate court, but it cannot be filed until a death certificate is issued, said Fisher.
George Overmier's brother, Jeffery Overmier, in an e-mail sent on behalf of the Overmier family, said while it was unknown yet what the motive was for the fire and apparent suicides, the family believes George or Emily Overmier became ill.
"We don't yet know with certainty, but the family suspected that either George or Emily developed a terminal illness some time in late 1998 or early 1999," Jeffery Overmier wrote in the e-mail. "They were a very private couple that never wanted to burden the family with this type of news, and if an illness existed, it was never discussed with any of us."
George and Emily Overmier would have been married 25 years this August. Both were accountants and owned a small Certified Public Accounting business in Orange County, California, for about 20 years, Jeffery Overmier wrote. At the end of the 1999 tax season the couple retired and moved to Longville, where they had often vacationed, and where George Overmier spent his childhood summers.
Jeffery Overmier said George and Emily Overmier had a unique love for each other, and a great fondness for the north woods of Minnesota. He added their intent, in his opinion, was never to cause harm or distress to their friends in Longville.
"As a family we do not agree with what George and Emily have done," wrote Jeffery Overmier. "However, I choose to believe that the two of them will be together forever, and that, I believe, was ultimately the reason for their actions."
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