Beeville police investigate whether foul play involved in fatal fire

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

May 6, 2013 at 12:06 a.m.
Updated May 7, 2013 at 12:07 a.m.

Beeville police are trying to determine whether a fatal weekend house fire was intentionally set.

Dorothy Pillow, 65, was found dead after a fire broke out at her single-story wooden home in the 700 block of North Jefferson Street at 4:16 p.m. Saturday, Beeville Police Chief Joe Trevino said.

The fire was concentrated in two of the back bedrooms of the house, Beeville Fire Chief Donald Morris said.

Investigators combed through the scene Monday with the state fire marshal's office to find out what caused the blaze. They are also interviewing people of interest, Trevino said.

Pillow's body was sent to the Nueces County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy. Trevino hopes to see the autopsy results within a few days.

"We are leaving no stone unturned," Trevino said.

Trevino declined to say what about the fire was suspicious. This is the second time during his seven-year tenure a body has been discovered after a house fire.

He said he has asked the state fire marshal's office to assist his department in the past when a fatal fire occurred.

Jessica Yzaguirre, 25, meanwhile, was still grappling with the news of her grandmother's death.

Pillow moved to Beeville from Victoria about nine years ago. In Victoria, she worked as a licensed optician and was a homemaker.

Pillow had three children: Brian Pillow, 44, of Beeville; Melissa Bass Durment, 41, of Beeville; and Diana Pillow Vela, 39, of Victoria.

When she wasn't tending a vegetable and flower garden that wrapped around her house, Pillow helped raise her 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

She always had a place for family.

"Nobody would ever live on the street," Yzaguirre said. "She always had open arms and an open door."

Pillow also enjoyed painting flower pots, shopping at garage sales and antique stores and had a collection of more than 500 ceramic pig figurines in her house.

At the time of Pillow's death, her 24-year-old grandson was living with her. The family said the grandson was not home when the fire was reported.

"She would always talk about Jesus and preach to us," Yzaguirre said. "We're still in denial and just not wanting to believe what happened. It makes me sick just thinking about it because she was such a sweet person."



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