DANVILLE — Remains found at the scene of a rural Homer house fire in January were identified as the homeowner.

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson issued a press release Monday confirming the remains were those of Jeffrey Ward, 60. He lived at the home, located at County Road 7886N 200E, which was destroyed by fire the night of Jan. 25.

Johnson said the official identification was made via DNA. Autopsy results still are pending in the case.

The presence of Ward’s vehicles at his home at the time of the blaze lead emergency personnel to believe he was inside at the time of the fire. Cadaver dogs from the Illinois State Police were called in and remains were uncovered by the morning of Jan. 26.

The first remains were determined to be that of a small animal, but a second set found soon after were confirmed as human remains.

Although nothing was found to indicate the fire was suspicious in nature, its cause is officially listed as undetermined because there is simply not enough evidence in the debris of the home — which was burned down to the basement — to make an official determination on the cause.

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