The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

September 22, 2010

No foul play ruled in Henderson fire

Cause of fire not yet released

HENDERSON — An investigation into an Aug. 29 fire that resulted in the death of a 17-year-old girl in Henderson has concluded, and the Henderson police chief said there was no evidence of foul play.

Amee Lee Thiel was found dead in the basement of her Henderson house after firefighters arrived just after 6 a.m. A death certificate filed in Sibley County said Thiel’s death was ruled a suicide. The cause of death was smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, death records said.

“There is no reason to believe that anyone else was involved,” Chief Chester Aldrich said Tuesday.

A neighbor reported the fire after smelling smoke. The fire started in a first-floor bedroom and firefighters could see flames coming from the bedroom when they arrived.

The fire investigation was completed by Assistant State Fire Marshal Casey Stotts last week, Aldrich said. Stotts could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Kristine Chapin, a Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, said it could be about a week before an official report about the cause of the fire is released to the public.

She said Stotts’ information has been turned in, but it still needs to be put into report form. Once that’s done, the final report has to be approved by Stotts. That report will then be reviewed by a Department of Public Safety attorney to decide what information will be released to the public, Chapin said.

Information from an Aug. 27 arson fire in Mankato was also forwarded to Stotts for his investigation of the Henderson fire. Thiel was also at the scene of that fire, which was at Tisha Kenning’s mobile home at 145 Lynn Lane, when firefighters arrived. The mobile home was destroyed as a result of the fire.

Investigators would not say what connection Thiel had to the Mankato location, but court records show Kenning’s son, 20-year-old Timothy Leland Kenning, had a previous relationship with Thiel.

A criminal complaint filed in Blue Earth County in 2008 charged Timothy Kenning with sexual assault for having a relationship with a 15-year-old girl. The complaint said the relationship had started when they were both juveniles.

The felony charge was dismissed in a plea agreement that allowed Kenning to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He also was ordered to register as a predatory offender for 10 years and have no contact with Thiel.

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