Authorities in Oklahoma say a landlord and a friend set a house on fire over unpaid rent, killing Dannette Marie Stowe, 43, who burned to death along with two of her beloved dogs.
Allen Shaw, 89, and Randy Sander, 65, are each charged with one count of second-degree murder and second-degree arson over the March 2 incident near Idabel, according to a news release from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Idabel is located about an hour west-northwest of Paris, Texas.
The two men allegedly started the fire over allegations of unpaid rent, according to a news release issued by the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office. The dispute appeared on the radar of local law enforcement on Feb. 20 when deputies were called to the residence regarding a “civil dispute,” according to MCSO.
“The 89-year-old property owner attempted to force the occupants out of the residence,” said McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy. “After speaking with deputies, the owner advised that they have not paid rent for over two years and was waiting them out.”
Deputies notified Shaw of the formal eviction process under the law, MCSO said. Meanwhile, the tenants complained about their landlord’s behavior – claiming Shaw “had been out there several times.” The tenants were advised to seek a protective order.
“Neither party at that time has broken any laws and was not subject to arrest, and the parties were separated,” Clardy said. “None of them [party] did as deputies advised and on March 2nd the property owner returned with the help of a friend and set the structure on fire.”
Stowe, the sheriff said, was outside the house with her husband at one point. But she ran back into the fire to save her dogs.
She and the dogs never got out.
“When law enforcement and firefighters arrived on scene, the structure was fully engulfed in flames,” Clardy said.
Deputies made contact with Stowe’s husband, who told them Shaw had already driven away, the sheriff said. The landlord was shortly afterwards located at a residence in Idabel by law enforcement.
The remains of the deceased woman were later found inside the burned-out house. Her husband was taken to a nearby hospital.
Stowe’s unbreakable bond with her dogs was noted as her loved ones remembered her and paid tribute to the loss.
“Dannette loved to do anything that had to do with being in the country or in the woods and enjoyed fishing and mudding,” her obituary reads. “She loved her fur babies (her dogs) every single one.”
A total of three local fire brigades were called to put out the fire, the authorities say.
Shaw and Sander are both being held on $500,000 bail in the McCurtain County Jail.
The OSBI said they are continuing to investigate the case with the help of the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Sooner State medical examiner.
Stowe’s funeral will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, March 11, at White Family Funeral Chapel.
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