Bethany investigators say fatal fire included murder, possible suicide

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BETHANY, Okla. (KFOR) – A couple pulled out of a fire Saturday afternoon have now both died, and police believe the man killed his girlfriend purposely after dousing her in gasoline.

Police were called to a house fire near NW 23rd and Rockwell.

A neighbor said a teenage boy alerted him to the fire.

“Teenager came over and knocked on the door, he said his house was on fire so I ran over to see what I could do and the only thing I could do was just give him a water hose and try to spray water on the door,” said Otis Bell.

Bell and two others nearby tried to extinguish flames from the outside.

Inside the home were 48-year-old mother of seven Roychelle Belcher, and her 49-year-old boyfriend, Robert Taylor.

“When officers and the fire department personnel arrived there, they found two people that were on fire inside the residence,” said Bethany Police Lt. Angelo Orefice.

Belcher died Saturday, and Taylor died Sunday night.

Detectives said both bodies were doused in gasoline

“It appears at this point that the male had set the female on fire and we’re still trying to determine if him catching on fire was an accident or a suicide attempt,” Lt. Orefice said.

Police said this is the 4th alleged murder in Bethany, all of them related to domestic violence.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, some law enforcement agencies have tracked an increase in domestic violence.

What led up to this tragedy is still under investigation.

“We’re just trying to track and see if there was a pattern of domestic abuse or was this just a one time incident, but just based on what we have now, that wasn’t the case,” Lt. Orefice said.

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence should reach out to the Oklahoma SAFE-line as soon as possible at 1-800-522-SAFE.

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