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Autopsy reveals former mayor was murdered

EVARTS, Ky. (WYMT/WKYT) - Police now say a former Eastern Kentucky mayor was murdered!

An autopsy revealed 59-year-old Ronnie King was shot and killed before his home burned Monday morning.

There are no arrests yet.

Family and friends do not know why someone would kill Ronnie King, a man they say showed generosity to many in Evarts.

"It's just a total shock, especially with the proposed foul play factor of it," said Preston McLain, who was an Evarts City Council member when King was mayor.

Firefighters and family members found King's body in his burning home on Monday. His brother Jerome King lives across the street and says he tried to save his brother when he saw the fire.

"I dived in there but the smoke and fire, I had to back out. I couldn't breathe and couldn't do anything," said Jerome King.

An autopsy shows a gunshot killed Ronnie King. Police upgraded the case to murder.

While police search for suspects, family and former City Council members remember the former mayor's dedication to improving Evarts.

"He was one of the best mayors here and I'm not just saying that because he's my brother, but he did a lot for the city," said Jerome King.

"I'm 100% sure he had the city's best interest at heart. He wanted to see every department grow. He set the roots for the water improvements we've seen," said McLain.

They say no one can replace King in the community.

Evarts Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Visitation will be Thursday at the funeral home from 5:00-8:00 p.m. The funeral will be Friday at 1:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Evarts Funeral Home.

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EVARTS, Ky. (WYMT) --- Preliminary autopsy results indicate that Ronnie King suffered a single gun shot wound resulting in his death.

The death investigation has now been changed to Murder and no arrests have been made at this time.

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Post 10, Harlan at 606-573-3131.
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EVARTS, Ky. (WYMT) - Friends say he was a good man, now police are investigating how a former mayor of Evarts died.

Officials say the first call to 911 was for a house fire on Kelly Street, but it quickly turned into more once the charred remains of Ronnie King were found.

Kentucky State Police detectives are not releasing many details but say there is enough evidence to believe both the fire and King’s death are suspicious.

Police are combing through Ronnie King’s home looking for clues to find out what happened before he died.

“We do feel foul play is suspected, however, we can’t go into any details at this time,” Shane Jacobs said.

Police say 59 year old Ronnie King lived alone in the home.

Around 11:00 a.m. Monday, a neighbor saw smoke coming from the house and called 911.

Firefighters called state police when they found the body.

Those who knew King say he was well-known in the Evarts community.

Dozens of people came to the scene to mourn his death.

"I'm surprised this happened," said Pamela Griffith. "He was a good person who helped anyone in need."

While police determine how King died, the state fire marshal is trying to determine how the fire started, but officials say it is considered suspicious.

Neighbors say King and his acts of kindness will never be replaced in the community.

Now they are waiting for answers.

King’s body is went to Frankfort for an autopsy to determine how he died.

There are no arrests yet in the case.

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EVARTS, Ky (WYMT-TV) --- Police are investigating a fatal house fire in the Evarts community of Harlan County.

The victim has been identified as Ronnie King (59) of Evarts.

No arrests have been made and police suspect foul play.


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