Person of interest sought in deadly Kalamazoo fire


    The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety looked for a person of interest in connection to a man found dead inside of a burning home. (WWMT)<p>{/p}

    Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety detectives have asked for the public's help to find a person of interest related to a deadly house fire on Wallace Avenue that left one man dead.

    KDPS said late Wednesday they would like to speak with Melissa Morgan, 32, as a person of interest. Police said Morgan was last seen leaving the home before it caught fire Sunday morning. Firefighters found the victim 31-year-old Zach Hayes dead inside the home.

    For the last three days, KDPS Capt. Brad Misner said detectives had been searching for Morgan, but had asked for the public's help to find her.

    "She's been bouncing around and actively avoiding police contact," Misner said.

    Detectives said moments before flames broke out early Sunday, Morgan and another man were seen leaving the home by an eyewitness.

    Police said the man was questioned and released.

    "He gave his side of his side of story of what happened that evening and I cannot give out that information," said Misner.

    Detectives had turned their attention to Morgan, who was seen with a bruise around her eye socket.

    Misner said detectives believe someone helped her avoid them.

    "We have been in Van Buren County, Berrien County, Kalamazoo County. In several different locations, we have confirmed she's been at several different addresses," Misner said.

    The family of Hayes and his neighbors told Newschannel 3 that he had been helping Morgan get back on her feet.

    "He was trying to do whatever he could do to help her, straighten her life out," Al Holderman, Hayes's neighbor, said.

    Holderman said Morgan would come and go from Hayes's house.

    "She would cuss at him at him, and say he's a piece of crap, and the next day, she'd be back right here because she cared for him too," Holderman said.

    Neighbors said Morgan's family had been looking for her around town. A close family relative of Morgan refused to comment.

    "I'm not saying anything, it's still under investigation," she said.

    The fire marshal was investigating the cause as of Feb. 6 and police said they're waiting on the results of Hayes's autopsy for more clues about his death.

    Anyone who may have information regarding this investigation is asked to call Kalamazoo Public Safety at 269-488-8911 or Silent Observer at 269-343-2100 or www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com.

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