Dead body found inside home after neighbor’s 911 call

EDMOND, OK – The details of an intense case in Edmond have been pieced together by police following a house fire that occurred five days ago. The initial incident began with a 911 call from a neighbor who saw smoke emanating from a house on Magnolia Lane. The property was occupied by 31-year-old William Jared Burgess at the time. When firefighters arrived, they discovered a crime scene and promptly notified the police.

According to the 911 caller, it was unclear whether the house was on fire or if the cause of the smoke was something inside, but the smell of smoke was evident. Firefighters arrived on the scene to discover Burgess inside, severely burned. The police collected evidence at the scene revealing blood throughout the house and the absence of Burgess’s truck.

Investigators were able to connect the dots over the following days, leading them to identify an acquaintance, 32-year-old Matthew James Branch as a potential suspect. Legal documents suggest that Branch confessed to stabbing Burgess and subsequently leaving the scene in Burgess’s truck.

Information from the victim’s previous employer indicated that Burgess and Branch had been involved in a dispute approximately a month prior to the incident with Branch allegedly threatening to “get him”.

A man working in the neighborhood, Pat Howe, recounted how he had smelled smoke on the day of the fire, though he initially did not suspect anything untoward. Subsequently, the arrival of sirens alerted him to an issue, and he noted that the house was ablaze.

As of Wednesday, the community remained in shock with neighbors expressing their wish to have been of some assistance. Although formal charges have yet to be laid, Branch was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and arson charges of the first and third degree.