SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– When a house on W. Lombard Street in Springfield caught fire this week, and a 66-year-old woman was found dead inside that incinerated home, many were left with questions. Four days after the fire, investigators shared the accounts of people living nearby.
Since the day of the fire (Sept. 21, 2020) police have taken one man into custody, Pavel Samsinak. Samsinak, who is sometimes called Paul, is now charged with second-degree murder, second-degree arson, armed criminal action, and tampering with evidence.
On Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, police released probable cause documents related to Samsinak’s charges. The following information is according to those probable cause documents.
- The victim of these alleged crimes, Alice Hale, was found with signs of trauma to her head and face.
- Officers located a baseball bat in the house’s kitchen area and reported seeing what looked like bloodstains on the front and back door of the house.
- One neighbor (identified only by her initials) told investigators she saw Alice arguing with a tall, thin man before noticing the fire. According to this neighbor’s account, Alice was yelling at the man. The yelling could not be heard during the fire.
- Autopsy results indicate Hale did not have soot or evidence of smoke inhalation in her lungs. “This is known to commonly occur when a victim is deceased prior to a fire occurring,” the document says.
- One neighbor (identified only by his initials) told investigators, about an hour before the fire started, he heard a woman yell. When he stepped outside of his house to find the source of the yell, he saw nothing and went back inside.
- That same neighbor noticed a truck driving down the street about an hour before hearing the yell. The truck, that neighbor says, belonged to a man he knew only as Paul. According to the neighbor, Paul is a tall, thin man with a Russian accent that owns the vacant lot next to Hale’s house.
- Authorities determined Paul was in fact Samsinak, visited Samsinak’s listed address, and noticed a black Toyota Tundra in the driveway during their visit.
- One investigator notes seeing a small gas can in the bed of the Tundra during that first visit to Samsinak’s property.
- During a later visit, detectives note seeing a small amount of blood on the door of Samsinak’s home and say the gas can was no longer in the bed of the truck.
- Investigators obtained surveillance video from a gas station near Hale’s house. In that video, investigators say, you can see Samsinak’s truck pull in and park at the gas station. Minutes later you can see Hale’s house catch fire. Minutes after that, Samsinak’s truck leaves the parking lot.