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Fire destroys murder suspect's home

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'Ignitable liquid' found at scene of suspicious blaze

By Ben Carlson

The home of a man suspected in the brutal slaying of a Mount Eden woman burned to the ground early last Wednesday morning in what investigators are calling a suspicious fire.

The singlewide trailer located at 4197 Bardstown Road and owned by murder suspect Gary Bancroft was fully involved when Anderson County firefighters arrived at the scene around 2 a.m.

Once the fire was extinguished, Anderson County Fire Chief Mike Barnes contacted the Kentucky State Police and asked that a K-9 unit with the Scott County Fire Department be brought in to investigate.

The dog alerted investigators to the presence of an ignitable liquid, according to a news release from the Kentucky State Police, and debris samples were collected.

Bancroft remains lodged at the Franklin County Detention Center on $500,000 cash bond, and no one was apparently in the residence at the time of the fire. He stands accused of killing his girlfriend, Frances Renee Mobley, on Sept. 3 after her body was found inside trash bags stuffed into a container in the trailer’s bathroom. Mobley was slashed multiple times.

Barnes said the recent murder at the location raised red flags for him as soon as he heard the call go out.

“I was concerned that two weeks after that occurrence, we get a call at 2 a.m. from that address,” Barnes said.

Barnes immediately contacted firefighters likely to respond first to the rural western Anderson County scene, and told them to be careful.

“I didn’t want them running into something unsuspected,” he said. “I advised them to approach the scene with caution and take a good look around.”

Barnes said the fire was called in by a passing motorist.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing and being conducted by the Kentucky State Police. Barnes said although the fire appears suspicious, finding out who set it could be difficult.

“It’s not that hard to prove a fire was intentionally set,” he said. “Proving who did it is another thing.”

E-mail Ben Carlson at bcarlson@theandersonnews.com.