Metro woman praying that one of three victims found in aftermath of KCK house fire isn’t her sister

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Police in KCK are calling it a suspicious death investigation, and one metro woman is hoping her sister isn't one of the victims.

An early morning house fire in the 800 block of Troup Avenue brought first responders into the neighborhood just north of downtown KCK. Police said three bodies were taken from that home on Tuesday evening, just before an impromptu vigil formed on Troup Avenue.

KCK Police spokesman Tom Tomasic said detectives aren't ruling out that the fire was set to cover up other crimes, and it's possible those three people were murdered before the fire was intentionally set. Tomasic said police can't officially call this a homicide investigation until its determined how those three people died.

It's likely a neighbor called 911, asking for help when the fire started in the wee hours of Monday, he said. FOX 4 News spoke with one neighbor who heard seven gunshots as she was hanging Christmas decorations. A fire investigator said the three bodies had been located in one of the house's bedrooms.

A vigil Tuesday evening centered around 54-year-old Gwinn Green, who lived in the home that caught fire. Her sister, Patricia Green, and family waited across the street while investigators worked for most of the afternoon.

Patricia Green said she had dropped her sister off at the home Monday afternoon, and since then, she's hasn't been able to make contact with her.

"I'm just praying to God it's not my sister," Patricia Green said. "We're just praying for the best."

About 40 people attended the vigil, which, according to Patricia Green, was quickly organized by three churches in Wyandotte County.

"All I know is my sister watches the news, and we don't have any confirmation about anything," she said. "If she's out there, and she's not here at her home, she can reach out to us, and we'll appreciate that."

As of Tuesday evening, detectives couldn't confirm the names of the three people who died in the fire. Green said she and her family are miserable and yearning for answers as to whether or not Gwinn is one of the three victims.

"It's been kind of tearing us apart -- not apart -- but we're still prayerful for the outcome, but it's hard not to know the facts," Patricia Green said.

Tomasic said investigators aren't convinced those people weren't killed before the fire was set. On Tuesday night, a KCK fire reconstruction team was vigorously sifting through the rubble in effort to determine where and how the fire started.

"They can go in and look for any accelerants and tell us if this was an intentional fire," Tomasic said. "We, on the other hand, can do the autopsy and look for any evidence that can lead toward the homicide side of things -- how were they killed. Then fire will do what was used to set the house on fire, maybe to cover up the evidence."

Patricia Green said her sister lived in the house on Troup Avenue with one other person. Tomasic said police will have autopsy results as early as Wednesday, but it could take weeks for medical examiners to identify the remains.