MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The house is gone, left in rubble, and after crews knocked down the final pieces left standing they began sorting through nearly five feet of the charred remains looking for answers to the big question: where is the man who lives there?
"You never think you're going to lose someone like this," said Dorine Liebengood, who is the ex-wife to the missing man, Walt Liebengood.
While his home on Whitlock Road is in ruins, there's no sign of Walt, only his two cars left parked outside. A sign that investigators and family feel like it points to Walt was inside when the home caught fire Thursday around 1 a.m.
"I still feel like everything is still waiting," said Liebengood, searching for the words to say in this difficult time.
For the family, they say it's the unknown that is hard to handle.
"If his remains are in there, then they will be found. But it worries me because if, for some reason, they weren't, what does that mean?" she asked.
Investigators have called off the search for the night, but they say they have covered half of the area. They expect to come back out at 9 a.m. Friday to continue their search for answers.
"Of course, we would want some closer. Our hope is that they can tell by what they find that it wasn't a terrible ending for him," said Liebengood.
Sadly, for this family, they know all to well the sour taste of losing a loved one. In 2004, Megan Liebengood the daughter-in-law of Walt and Dorine was murdered in a high profile case in Lexington.
"It kind of makes you feel sometimes like you're cursed. It's been several years, but it still just feels like not so much."
Liebengood added that some of Megan's treasures were lost in the fire, like her wedding dress and photos of her and her husband Eric.
So while it hurts not having answers, this family is holding strong or as strong as they can in such a difficult time like this.
Investigators say they will keep an officer on standby at the home overnight to protect the scene. The cause of the fire is still unknown.