Woman’s death ruled homicide after video shows Norfolk house was intentionally set on fire


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police have ruled the death of a woman found inside a burning Norfolk home back in August as a homicide after video footage showed the fire was intentionally started.

In a press release Monday, police didn’t share additional details, but did say the fire was a result of arson. There was no suspect description or video shared with the release.

10 On Your Side reached out to request the video, but police said they will not be releasing the video at this time.

The victim, 69-year-old Leslie Vaughn, was found dead on Aug. 12 as firefighters responded to the house fire in the 3500 block of Somme Avenue.

Claude Ranger said he’s shocked and speechless to know his neighbor’s death is now being investigated as a homicide.

Ranger says he grew up in the neighborhood and has never heard of something like this happening before.

“Besides shock and total amazement, I can’t hardly believe it ’cause I can’t imagine anybody that’d want to harm them because they’re just such nice people,” he said.

He says he knew the couple who lived in the home on Somme Avenue in Norfolk. The man in the home made it out alive that night.

The night of the fire, he woke up after his power went out. He then smelled smoke and saw flashing red lights.

Norfolk police announced Monday surveillance video shows the cause of the fire as arson, something Ranger says puts him on edge.

“There’s a little bit of fear,” he said. “I think I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I was a little worried to know that crime happened that close. I don’t think anything like that, that I can recall, has happened around here.”

As he continues to piece together the latest developments in the case, he says he feels sad knowing they’ve lost such a sweet and peaceful presence in their neighborhood.

“Even since you told me, it’s still spinning in my head, the idea of it,” he said. “Especially for her. I really feel sad for her cause she was a very sweet, peaceful lady. And I know he’s hurting so, I can imagine now what’s going through his head.”

Those with information in the case are asked to call the Norfolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP or submit a tip through the P3 mobile app.

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