The body of a man who died in a Statesville fire apparently intentionally set is likely the homeowner and father of a person of interest in the arson case, Sheriff Robert Bryan said Sunday.
Bryan said the body is likely Alan Matthew Mooney Sr. But authorities can’t be sure until the body is positively identified since it was badly burned in the fire. He said results of those tests are expected sometime this week.
The person of interest wanted for questioning in the arson case in which authorities believe Mooney Sr. died led Wilson County sheriff’s deputies on a low-speed chase early Saturday morning that ended in Murfreesboro.
Alan Matthew Mooney Jr., 38, of Statesville, remained Sunday afternoon in Rutherford County Jail on $90,000 bond after he was charged with assault on an officer, reckless endangerment and evading arrest.
Bryan said the chase started in the Statesville community. He said Mooney eventually led officers to Murfreesboro where Mooney wrecked in an intersection after officers disabled his car at two different times using spike strips during the chase. No one was injured.
Sheriff’s investigators searched for Mooney since Friday afternoon for questioning in his apparent involvement in a fire at a Statesville home.
Wilson Emergency Management Agency, Lascassas and Watertown volunteer firefighters responded to a fully engulfed home and out building Friday afternoon at 420 Armstrong Road in Statesville. The fire was a complete loss.
The property owner’s name is Marilyn Mooney, according to Wilson County property tax records, but Bryan said she died a few years ago.
Bryan said the lone resident, Mooney Sr., was unable to be found during and after the fire, but a badly burned body was found once the fire was extinguished. He said fire investigators also found evidence the fire was intentionally set.
Bryan said the person was believed to be Mooney Sr., but the body was too badly burned to be immediately identified.
According to Bryan, investigators haven’t charged Mooney with arson, but wanted to consult with District Attorney Tommy Thompson’s office first. That meeting was expected to take place by Monday. Until charges are determined, Bryan said Mooney Jr. remained a person of interest in the case.
Bryan said investigators are working with state bomb and arson agents, the state medical examiner and Middle Tennessee State University anthropology department officials to positively identify the body.