SAYRE, Okla. - Police said a fire that sparked inside a home in Sayre was set to hide a heinous homicide.
On Tuesday morning, firefighters and officials found the body of Jerry Essary inside his burned home.
Investigators said it may be the result of a deadly love triangle between the victim, his wife and a man she dated while she was separated from her husband.
“If the guy couldn't have her, nobody was gonna have her,” said Vania Payne, a family friend.
Payne said Pam Essary's former boyfriend didn't want things to end.
“Why this crazy man would do this? 'I'm going to kill you all. I will take you all out.' That's what Pam said he kept saying. 'He's going to take us all out. He's going to kill grandbabies,'” Payne said.
It was a threat Payne said she talked about with Pam before she was taken to the hospital.
“She said that he busted in on them and held them captive. He had her handcuffed to the refrigerator. She said he went in and grabbed a pillow, put it over [Jerry's] head and shot him. Then, she said he set fire to the house,” Payne said.
Investigators believe Jerry was murdered on Monday night but Pam was able to escape.
“She said she got undone. She jumped out of the window, and she took off running and she hid in a car over here at the Phillips 66 station,” Payne said.
Police said they found the alleged suspect the next morning.
They are not releasing his name at this time.
“He was found near the house in an alley, inside his vehicle. He was unconscious. There didn't appear to be any kind of wounds to him. But, how he became unconscious, we are not sure yet,” said Special Agent Dannie Sanders with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Jerry’s sons found out what happened on Tuesday morning.
There are no words to describe their heartbreak.
“He's a great man. He never met a stranger. He was loving, sweet and peaceful, great, good Christian man,” said Daniel Essary.
He said his parents had their problems like any couple but said they loved each other.
“She'd leave and come back, and he would just wait for her to come back. He absolutely adored my mom. He adored his family,” Daniel said.
The Sayre Police Department is continuing to investigate along with the OSBI.