FBI assistance in murder investigation of fire chief's wife welcomed

FBI joins investigation of Lacombe-area woman's death

COVINGTON -  For 15 weeks, loved ones of Nanette Krentel have asked for information and intervention in her murder investigation.

The 49-year-old retired teacher was found shot in the head inside of her burned down Lacombe home.   Her three beloved pets also perished in the fire.  While necropsies have been done, the results of how the two cats and a dog died have not been revealed.  The Coroner's Office ruled Nanette's death a homicide, citing a lack of soot found in her airway.  The State Fire Marshal's Office said the flames were set intentionally, but stopped short of calling it arson.

Until now, those agencies, along with the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office, have been tight-lipped about the case and their progress on it and claimed to be the only ones looking into the death when asked by Eyewitness News.

But two weeks ago, Fire Marshal's investigators were seen, multiple days, re-interviewing firefighters who responded to the scene.  Wednesday, the FBI's involvement was confirmed.

It's activity bringing comfort to many, including Krentel's husband, St. Tammany Fire District 12 Chief Steve Krentel, who has been cleared by sheriff's detectives.

"I was actually very happy to hear that," he said, "I'm glad that the sheriff's office is doing what they had promised me from the beginning which is pulling out all of the stops and making sure that every resource that is available to them has been utilized and is being utilized."

The sheriff's office said in a statement, "The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office has utilized the FBI's vast resources and expertise in this investigation. FBI agents have been provided access to the entire case file and are reanalyzing certain pieces of evidence and information obtained during the investigation."

An FBI spokesman said in a statement, "Following the death of Nanette Krentel, the FBI New Orleans Field Office has continued to maintain constant contact with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office and affiliated law enforcement agencies.  As this matter has progressed, we have provided investigative assistance as needed.  As this is an ongoing and active matter, we are not able to comment further at this time."

The sheriff's office also released new details about the case.  Detectives have used "video evidence from various locations, witness interviews and digital records" to develop a timeline of Krentel's whereabouts and time of death on July 14th.

Another new revelation, that multiple weapons and projectiles were located near Nanette's body, was not a surprise to her father Dan Watson.

"Nan was fearful for her life," he said, referring back to a September interview where he detailed that fear came from threats she and Steve received from one of Steve's brothers in regard to his criminal trouble, "She had one handgun in her purse, one in the house, one in the vehicle at all times. plus she had a shotgun."

Steve also confirms the couple kept more than 20 weapons, with ammo, in various places in the home, so while he wasn't surprised either, he'd like to know more about what "nearby" entails.

However, the recent flurry of activity is leaving loved ones more hopeful about getting justice now than they've been since losing Nan on July 14th.

"I'm looking forward to them piecing together what happened and trusting that they're doing their job doing that," said Krentel.

The sheriff's office is asking for anyone with information in this case to contact Detective Buckner at 985-726-7835 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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