Year-long murder investigation continues

It has been more than a year since the death of Rhonette Lyles, 77, a retired Cleveland Elementary teacher, who was found Feb. 8, 2014, in her burned-out house on Moman Road in the Horton community near Snead.

Her death is still under investigation by the Blount County District Attorney’s Office, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Department.

The cause of death has not been released, but the fire was ruled an arson by the State Fire Marshal’s Office early in the investigation.

“Contrary to what some may believe, this is still a very active investigation during which I am being updated weekly on the progress made,” says Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey.“After a recent meeting of the various agencies involved, new information developed which we believe will assist us in identifying the person and/or persons responsible for this tragic event. Those leads are being actively pursued by the investigators involved in this case. We still want to encourage anyone who may have knowledge regarding this fire and death to contact my office, the Blount County Sheriff’s Department, Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office or Crime Stoppers.”

Casey says 1000 hours have gone into this investigation, and the state investigator over the case updates her weekly.

A $20,000 reward is still being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons connected to the crime.

“Let us decide whether something is relevant or not,” Casey says.“Any piece of information could be important or the missing piece we need.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Blount County Crime Stoppers at 274-2746 or the District Attorney’s Office at 625-4171.