The Unsolved 2017 Death Of Nanette Krentel

The strange death of Nanette Krentel from Lacomb, Louisiana continues to fascinate the media due to many unresolved questions about her death. Krentel's murder garnered a fair amount of press attention due to revelations about her personal life as well as various controversies over the investigation itself.

Krentel, 49, lived in Lacombe Louisiana with her husband, Steve, then the local fire chief. She was found dead along with her pets in 2017 after her house went up in flames. However, her death proved to be no accident — the police investigation revealed that Krentel had been shot in the head before the fire consumed her body, per People.

Krentel appeared to have been scared for her safety long before she was killed. The Nola news network reports that the Krentel's home was protected by nine surveillance cameras, and the couple had 30 guns stored in the house. Unfortunately, whoever committed the arson doused the digital video recorder with an accelerant, preventing data recovery in the wake of the inferno. While the identity of the killer remains a mystery, there is intense speculation among those closest to the victim.

A cheating spouse and an unstable brother

Although the fire destroyed most of the evidence, stories about threatening emails, family feuds, and an illicit affair have spawned various theories as to what might have happened to Nanette Krentel. Krentel's husband Steve and her brother Bryan were both eyed with suspicion during the case.

According to People magazine, Krentel's father Dan Watson has said that Krentel was thinking of leaving her husband not long before the murder, and Steve has even admitted to cheating on his wife of 22 years with a younger colleague. Although he was working at the fire station at the time of the fire, he has since resigned from his post after it was discovered that he had had inappropriate relations with at least two different staff members. Steve has insisted that he and his wife had worked through their problems, despite family claims to the contrary, and has since passed a polygraph test and was no longer a suspect in 2018.

Concerns have also been raised about Steve's brother Bryan, an ex-con who was turned in to the police by the couple for destroying his mother's car. According to Nola news network, in 2011 Krentel told her father that Bryan had threatened to burn the house down, and she also told her sister that he had threatened to rape her as well. While the police said in 2018 they are still interested in Bryan, surveillance footage has proven that he was at home on the day of the murder.

Controversy at the police department

Years later, Nanette Krentel's friends and family are still calling for justice, and rumors abound online, Nola reports. As criticisms of the sheriff's office have mounted, the police themselves have also become embroiled in a scandal over the case. In 2019, Jerry Rogers, a federal agent from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was arrested by local police for sending emails to Krentel's family about the case that were critical of the police.

Acting sheriff Randy Smith published an open letter to the public and the media shortly afterward via St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, explaining their decision. The letter stated that the police were struggling to cope with misinformation about the Krentel murder online and that the case had been weaponized for political reasons against Smith's forthcoming reelection campaign. It goes on to claim that Rogers was uncooperative and threatened suicide when the cops tried to arrest him.

In 2022 it was revealed that an FBI agent had asked for a criminal probe into the police department, alleging a possible police conspiracy (per WWL-TV). Later the same year a federal judge ruled the arrest of Rogers illegal in 2022 (per Nola). According to Fox 8, in 2022 the police department released a statement saying, "The decision that was made to investigate and ultimately arrest Mr. Rogers was never about Sheriff Randy Smith, it was about defending the integrity of a homicide investigation."