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Nanette Krentel

Nanette Krentel, the wife of St. Tammany Parish Fire District 12 Chief Steve Krentel, was shot before her badly burned body was found in the family’s home that burned to the ground July 14, according to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office.

The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office's Major Crimes Unit is now investigating the circumstances of her death.

Nanette Krentel’s body was found burned beyond recognition when the Krentels’ home in a remote area near Lacombe burned to the ground. The fire was so intense that it destroyed the cars in the garage. Firefighters had to take the roof off the house before going in to search for remains.

After her body was recovered, Krentel was identified as the victim through DNA analysis. An initial release from the Coroner’s Office confirming her identity did not include any details about how she died, though.

News of the gunshot wound and the Major Crimes Unit investigation appeared in a news release Friday afternoon from the Sheriff’s Office, issued around the time Krentel’s memorial service was held at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Mandeville.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this tragic time,” Sheriff Randy Smith said in the news release, “and I want to reassure them that we are diligently working on this case and our detectives will continue to work until we have all of the answers.”

Kris Hines, who serves as chief of fire prevention for District 12, said the family was disappointed by the timing of the release. But he said he has confidence in the Sheriff’s Office.

“We have the utmost faith in the agencies that are involved in the investigation. We expect that they’re going to be as professional as they need to be and that they’re going to work in an expedient manner and try to bring some sort of resolution to this,” Hines said.

The cause of the fire remains unclear. The state Fire Marshal’s Office has not returned repeated requests for comment over the past two days.

A New Orleans native, Krentel was a retired prekindergarten teacher. She would have turned 50 on Thursday of this week.

Ashley Rodrigue of WWL-TV contributed to this report.

Follow Nick Reimann on Twitter, @nicksreimann.