Body found in basement of Dayton home identified

Local News

The Montgomery County Coroner identified the body found in the basement of a Dayton house on April 27.

41-year-old James Briscoe from Dayton was found in the basement of a house in the 100 block of S. Irwin Street.

A man looking for his lost dog found the body.

Briscoe’s body was found in the basement of a house destroyed by fire last December.

The coroner has not released a cause of death for Briscoe.

“His sister – she was on Facebook tirelessly for weeks just asking about her brother, if anybody knew anything to please come forward,” said David Hale, Jr., a friend of Briscoe.

Hale said he has known Jimmy Briscoe since middle school.

“He was always a good guy, very athletic when we grew up, loved sports,” Hale said. “He’s always been really close to his family. His sister and his brother have always been real close.” 

When Briscoe was reported missing, police said they were concerned because family told them he may not have been taking medication.

According to authorities, he was last seen December 22, the day before the fire. A neighbor found his body last Friday when he was looking for his dog.

“It kind of makes me wonder, did they overlook him when they put out the fire initially?” Hale said. “Was he here all winter long, froze? I don’t know.”

It’s not yet known if Briscoe died in the fire, according to fire department spokesperson Bryan Adams. 

Although Hale said he has many questions about what happened, he is comforted knowing Briscoe’s family finally has some answers.

“Hopefully, they get the closure they need, even though they didn’t find him alive,” Hale said. “Hopefully they get the closure they need with him being found, and they can just put him to rest.”

The fire department’s investigation is ongoing, Adams said.

A neighbor called 911 on Friday, April 27, saying he was looking for his dog when he found the body.

“I don’t see no address on that house, but I’m trying to follow my dog – I thought I heard my dog in the house – it’s a burned up house, and I went down the basement, and I’ve seen a dead body down here,” the caller told the 911 dispatcher.

Neighbors who spoke with 2 NEWS said they have seen people coming in and out of the building, even though it was heavily damaged in a fire. 

“There’s been tons of people in and out of that house, collecting scrap,” said a neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous. “There’s tons of the kids in the neighborhood that play in the house or are curious.”

The neighbor said she is concerned about the safety of her family.

“Who knows what’s really going on in the neighborhood?” she said. “It doesn’t make me feel very comfortable as where we live. But at the same time, you just got to try to make the best of it.”

The home was vacant when it was destroyed in a fire in December, according to Bryan Adams of the Dayton Fire Department.

“Crews were dispatched, and we arrived on scene approximately seven minutes after they were dispatched, so crews were on scene very quickly,” he said. “They forced entry into the home.”

It’s not yet clear if the person died in the fire, Adams said. When firefighters battled the blaze four months ago, he added, crews did what they were supposed to do, which included searching the home until it was no longer safe for firefighters to be inside.

“A vacant house is not necessarily a vacant house,” Adams said. “So as long as the crews can make entry, they can do a search of the house, and they can do an aggressive interior attack on the fire.”

No other injuries were reported from the fire, Adams said.

Anyone with information about the house fire is asked to call the fire department at 937-333-TIPS (8477), Adams said.

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