Kentucky man charged with killing, setting woman, 81, ablaze

December 3, 2020 GMT

CADIZ, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky man was charged Thursday with kidnapping and killing an 81-year-old woman and intentionally setting fire to her home, according to state police.

Jonathan R. McCoy, 42, was charged with murder, kidnapping, arson, evidence tampering and abuse of a corpse in the September death of Thelma Barnett, the state agency said in a news release.

Barnett was found dead in her Cadiz home, which was engulfed in flames, according to Kentucky State Police. Authorities initially believed she died from the fire, but the state medical examiner’s office determined she died as a result of foul play, news outlets reported.


Investigators said they think her house was intentionally set on fire after she was killed.

Barnett was a seamstress with three children and three grandchildren, according to her obituary. She was commonly known as “Mrs. Ilene,” troopers said.

Investigators did not immediately say whether McCoy knew Barnett.

He was booked into Christian County Jail. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.

State police are also looking for Keisha D. Stewart, a 29-year-old from Cadiz, who is “wanted for questioning” in the investigation, according to the agency. Officials said she may be in Cadiz or Hopkinsville.