LACOMBE- When the flames finally died out on July 14th, 2017, the smoke lifted to reveal the scene at the Krentel home was a wasteland.
Inside, 49-year-old Nanette Krentel was found shot in the head. The St. Tammany Coroner's Office declared her death a homicide, citing no soot in the airway.
Since then, the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office have partnered together, with help from other agencies like the FBI, to piece together what happened. But they've done so without releasing much information.
So friends and loved ones have recently been doing their own digging, focused on a timeline of Nanette's day.
"Maybe somebody will remember something, something will jog somebody's memory and they can lead us to a clue that we have yet to hear about so far," said longtime friend Lori Rando.
Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office opened up to help with that effort, saying in a statement, "Detectives have evidence that she left her residence that morning in her vehicle and went to the Northshore Blvd. area of Slidell and she returned home shortly after 9:00 am. The evidence we have indicates that she was alone in her vehicle and no other vehicles were following her."
Nanette drove a red 2011 GLK Mercedes 350 SUV.
The Sheriff's Office acknowledged in a past statement that it used "video evidence from various locations, witness interviews and digital records" to develop that timeline.
Earlier in the morning, Nanette's husband Steve Krentel, a Covington-area fire chief, says everything happened routinely. He woke up for work, Nanette set out his clothes and made him a peanut butter sandwich. He says she then walked him out to his truck, holding their dog Harley, to say goodbye around 7:40 a.m. Shortly before arriving to work around 8:05 a.m., Steve says he called Nanette, as usual, to discuss his daily morning phone conversation with his mother.
Nanette's father says the timeline confirmation gives one more piece to the puzzle.
"If they could give even just a little more, that would help," Dan Watson said by phone. "I am thankful that they gave you the information they did. You're the only one that's gotten anything, so that's a big step."
The next solid piece of the timeline comes in at 2:30 p.m. when the fire was called in. The Fire Marshal's Office says it believes the fire was intentionally set, but stops short of calling it arson. The state's criminal statute for simple arson reads, "The intentional damaging by any explosive substance or the setting fire to any property of another, without the consent of the owner."
Investigators also won't say where in the home it was set, but a source close to the investigation says there was only one source of ignition.
The Sheriff's Office has said multiple firearms were found near Krentel's body, but won't say where the body was found in the home.
Steve Krentel, who has been cleared as a suspect by the Sheriff's Office, commissioned drone video of the scene to provide to investigators as another perspective for their case. Since October, he has offered half of a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
"I'm very thankful that they have finally released some information that maybe the public can pay attention to and think back to that day," he said, "In five days, it's going to be six months since this transpired. And I'm glad that they're starting to release some information."
If you have information that can help investigators in this case, call Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.
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