Woman Dead, Man Missing After Powder Springs Fire
Michael Rowe remains unaccounted for after his home burned down and the body of Kathy Robertson was found in the remains.
A Powder Springs woman was found dead after what Powder Springs police are calling a "suspicious" early morning house fire Monday, and the other resident of the house was unaccounted for late into the night.
Police are asking for help in finding Michael Rowe, 52, who is believed to be driving a green 1995 Ford Taurus with a tag number of 356-ZMR.
Police spokeswoman Kathryn Raines said officials want to find Rowe because he lived at the house. Arson hasn’t emerged as a possibility, she told a group of reporters outside the house Monday afternoon.
Some news reports initially said Rowe had died in the fire, but police identified the body as 55-year-old Kathy R. Robertson.
Rowe and Robertson were the only two residents of 3544 Ponderosa Lane, police said.
The causes of the fire and Robertson’s death are under investigation. “At this time, it is a suspicious fire (because) we don’t have any of the details,” Raines said.
When Raines announced Robertson’s name to reporters, Gina Garmon, Rowe’s sister, twice said: “That’s not her name.”
Garmon said Robertson’s last name was Rowe and that she had been married to her brother for 15 years.
Thomas Rowe, Michael Rowe’s father, was one of several family members who had gathered beyond the taped-off house Monday. He also said the home's two residents were married and shared a last name.
Raines said that though legal marriage and common-law marriage are possibilities, the pair’s relationship is unknown. She said the woman’s last name came up as Robertson in the system.
Initially, Garmon said, another sibling told her their brother was the one who died. She said she remained distraught when she learned that Robertson was the victim.
“That lady’s been a member of our family for 15 years,” she said.
Thomas Rowe said when he first saw the house, he “just couldn’t talk.”
“It’s devastating,” he said. “I’ve never seen nothing like this before.”
Rowe mentioned his son’s unemployment woes and how the couple had been trying to overcome them.
“They’ve been having some problems lately, but I won’t go into a lot of details on that part,” he said.
Fire crews arrived at the home at 3:10 a.m., five minutes after a neighbor reported the fire, said Denell Boyd, a spokeswoman for Cobb County Fire & Emergency Services.
The house was fully engulfed in flames, and firefighters had to extinguish the blaze before seeing whether anyone was inside, Boyd said.
“Obviously, we have to put out the fire before we can do any search,” she said.
Robertson’s body was in the back bedroom, Boyd said. It was unclear whether she was trying to escape.
The body was removed Monday morning for an autopsy at the medical examiner's office.
“It was frightening, and it was sad,” Katie McMichen, who lives two houses down, said of the fire. “But things like this happen sometimes, you know?”
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