BILLINGS, Mont. Nov 3, 2005 — A man found dead in a house last week died of smoke inhalation, apparently after setting a pair of fires to conceal a burglary, police said.
Wayland Deputee Jr., 23, had coins belonging to the homeowner in his pockets when emergency crews pulled his body from the burning house, said Billings Police Detective Capt. Dave Hinkel.
Police also found two bags of household items in the alley, suggesting Deputee stashed some of the stolen goods before returning to light the fires, Hinkel said.
Investigators determined that Deputee started fires in the kitchen and bedroom in an apparent effort to cover his tracks. Overwhelmed by smoke, he collapsed in a dining room, where fire crews found him. A neighbor reported the fire.