It was a tragic Thanksgiving day for family and friends of a man found dead after a house fire in Bay City.

Officials said the case has turned into a homicide investigation.

Firefighters were sent to the home on 18th Street about 7 a.m. on Nov. 24.

“I just woke up and my mom was screaming my name telling me that my neighbor’s house was on fire. And when I came out it was engulfed in flames,” Alkareei Franklin said.

Officials said the home was engulfed in flames when they arrived. They later discovered the body of the victim, 59-year-old Steven Alan Bouza.

“It was fully involved. Crews had a hard time, the crews worked hard and put it out rather fast. The fire was coming out all of the windows,” Bay City Fire Chief Karey Prieur said.

The Franklin family lives across the street from the burned out home.

Following a Saturday autopsy police knew Bouza's death was a homicide.

"I can't believe it. I can't believe somebody would hurt him," said Penny Spitnale, neighbor. "He's never hurt anybody. He's always helped everybody that if they need help he was there."

The director of the Bay City Department of Public Safety said the fire looked suspicious from the start.

"Some things didn't add up," Michael Cecchini said.

Officials are asking for your help in the investigation. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, police located Bouza's 2013 GMC Sierra pickup truck they had been looking for.

Cecchini believed the vehicle could paint a picture of how Bouza died and who may have killed him.

His death was so brutal police said they had to use dental records to identify him.

No motive has been released and the investigation into Bouza's death is still on-going.

Copyright 2016 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Digital Content Producer


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