Lake Loramie death remains mystery

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

FORT LORAMIE — The victim of a mysterious car fire at Lake Loramie in November apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning; although evidence is inconclusive.

The case may always remain a mystery.

The body of Charles Sellner, who had been a resident of Sidney, was found Nov. 15, 2015, burned beyond recognition in his car, which was also burned to the metal, at a spoil site at Lake Loramie State Park. He was later identified through the use of DNA evidence.

In reports filed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which investigated the death, and obtained by the Sidney Daily News, investigators said they found no evidence of bullet or stab wounds on the body. Montgomery County coroners who performed autopsies reported carbon monoxide blood levels 0f 75 percent. Levels of 40 to 45 percent can cause death.

“It is my opinion that the cause of death of Charles Sellner is inhalation of products of combustion,” wrote Montgomery County Deputy Coroner Christopher J. Kiefer in his report of Jan. 26.

“With the coroner’s ruling, case is closed and is ruled undetermined as means of death,” wrote Charles Colson in his ODNR report dated April 13.

Colson’s report noted that there was also no evidence to prove how the car fire started.

“… there were no footprints in this area and the driver’s door area was untouched. We searched the spoil site area for any evidence and found a rod from the steering column 15 yards in front of the car (sticking half in/out of ground) along with Post-It notes near the shore line (passenger side of car) slightly charred (nothing written on them),” Colson wrote.

There was just one set of tire tracks leading to the site. The state fire marshal’s lab conducted tests on Dec. 7 on what was left of the vehicle. Those results showed no signs of explosives or ignitable liquid.

“The results of the investigation determined that foul play was not involved,” wrote Stephanie Leis, of the ODNR, in an email to the Sidney Daily News on April 27.

It was determined, however, that the fire began in the driver’s compartment of the car and burn patterns indicated that the fire had then spread to the rear of the vehicle, a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix.

General Motors issued a recall in October 2015 of that model because “certain of these vehicles have a condition in which drops of engine oil may be deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard braking. This condition could cause an engine compartment fire,” according to the General Motors website.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.