Sheriff: Fire Chief cleared in wife's death, department still awaiting test results

Ashley Rodrigue talks about a press conference on the death of a fire chief's wife.

SLIDELL, LA. - St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith announced Thursday Fire Chief Steve Krentel has been cleared in the investigation into his wife's July death.

Smith also said he was not disputing the parish coroner's ruling of a homicide, but was instead concerned about the timing of the announcement because of pending lab results.

MORE: Fire chief speaks out for first time after wife's mysterious death as Coroner rules it a homicide

"We have worked this case tirelessly and aggressively as a homicide since day one, and will continue to do so," said Smith.

Three separate autopsies were done on Nanette Krentel, who was found in her burned home with a gunshot wound to the head.

Covington-area fire chief Steve Krentel showed up to a house practically burned to the ground nine weeks ago, with his wife of 22 years, Nanette Krentel, located by firefighters inside with their pets.

"The day of the funeral is when I found out she actually had a gunshot wound," Krentel said. "I believe in time that they will figure out who did this because I don't believe people can be quiet forever."

Authorities have been tight-lipped about the details of the case.

"Even before the second and third autopsies and the FACES Lab's report, there was adequate evidence to rule the death a homicide," St. Tammany Paris Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said.  "Because of the complexity and sensitivity of the investigation, however, we wanted to give this case the utmost attention and thoroughness."

Smith said his department will continue to work with the fire marshal and coroner in the investigation.

"We will do everything in our power to bring justice for Nanette Krentel and closure to the family," said Smith.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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