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Fire engulfs small house
Clarence Roberts: The Man Who
Died In A Mysterious Fire Twice
History - Science
Clarence Roberts and his wife, Geneva were two of the most prominent citizens of Nashville, Indiana in the 1950s and 1960s. Clarence, especially, was a well-respected member of the community who owned and operated a prosperous hardware store, had won the 1950 election for sheriff, and earned the highest honor of 33rd-degree status at the Masonic Lodge.
However, that all changed on November 18, 1970, after a fire erupted at the Roberts' home; once the flames finally subsided, a body of a man was found lying next to a melted shotgun. Although the body, which was burnt beyond recognition, was originally identified as that of Clarence, a few irregularities that arose during further investigation put that claim into question.
Leading up to the night of the fire, the good fortune that Clarence had experienced had begun to change; while Clarence was spending beyond his means, the investments he had made pushed him further into debt. Clarence also bought nearly $1 million in life insurance against himself just prior to the fire, which led authorities to believe that he had committed suicide.
During the course of the investigation, certain discrepancies like the blood type, missing teeth, and a missing kidney — none of which matched Clarence — led the authorities to believe that the body was not Clarence’s. In addition to that, while the fire completely burnt the body, Clarence's 33rd-degree Masonic ring was found nearly undamaged, which raised further suspicion.
In the years following the fire, Geneva Roberts and her sons maintained that the body was truly Clarence’s, with Geneva saying, "I am so certain it was him." However, some believed that Clarence had murdered a homeless man, whom he had met two days before the fire, and then staged the fire in an attempt to claim the insurance money.