Coroner: Homicide victim dies of carbon monoxide poisoning

Coroner: Homicide victim dies of carbon monoxide poisoning »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- KIMA learned new details on the woman found dead after a fire in her Yakima home. Investigators discovered the body of Jerene Matta Saturday.

An autopsy said she died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Yet Yakima police are ruling this a homicide.

YPD told KIMA Jerene Matta was still alive when the fire started. And, for some reason someone wanted her dead. The fire was started to throw police off course.

Jerene Matta lived a quiet life. One of her relatives in the neighborhood said he rarely saw her.

"She'd drop by here once in a while when we're out in the yard working or something, but most of the time drive by and wave,” said Rod Schrader. “Really friendly when you did talk to her, very friendly."

Firefighters found her body Saturday after responding to a fire in her home. The coroner said she died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Investigators said the evidence shows she was still alive when the fire started. Neighbors are still upset.

"I was crushed,” said an anonymous neighbor. “I couldn't sleep that night."

Police said Jerene wasn't burned, but won't comment on the condition of her body. Detectives said someone meant to kill her. And, set the house on fire to hide the activity.

"Certainly they were unsuccessful as we were able to recover a significant amount of evidence to the home," said YPD Captain Rod Light.

Investigators hope the cameras set up outside Jerene's house will lead them to her attacker. Neighbors said she worried about kids in the neighborhood giving her trouble.

"With all her cameras and everything like that I thought she was pretty safe," said an anonymous neighbor.

"It's typical in this neighborhood to have stuff go on so I don't know if it's something close or on outskirts, but you expect the worst in this neighborhood," said Rod Schrader.

The fire was contained to a part of the house away from where Jerene was found. Police have made no arrests in connection with the case.