Police identify man found dead in South County fire, classifying it as homicide

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Photo by Erin Achenbach

Officers and firefighter-medics respond to the site of the officer-involved shooting at Nottingham Estates in March 2019.

Police have identified the man whose body was found in an apartment fire in South County, in a case now being investigated as a homicide.

Investigators identified James Kwiatkowski, 62, of the 4000 block of Nottingham Estates Drive, 63129, as the man whose body was found after a fire consumed his apartment Sunday morning.

The investigation was reclassified from a suspicious death to a homicide because it has been found that “significant physical injury contributed to the victim’s death,” the department said. Police did not specify what type of injury.

Police arrived to a call about smoke in an apartment in the 4000 block of Nottingham Estates Drive, near Lemay Ferry and Butler Hill roads, at roughly 8:48 a.m. Sunday.

The building was evacuated, and a small fire was extinguished in the apartment. First responders found a dead man inside the apartment where the smoke had started.

Police are investigating the man’s death as suspicious.

The department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons and Crime Scene Unit, along with the St. Louis Regional Bomb and Arson Unit, are conducting the investigation into the suspicious death.

The apartment building on Nottingham Estates Drive is across Lemay Ferry Road from the Kutis Funeral Home, which was mysteriously set on fire last year. A $10,000 reward is offered for information in that arson case.

The same apartment complex was also the site of an officer-involved shooting in March 2019, when police shot a man approaching them with a metal pipe in the basement of an apartment building.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 to speak to investigators.

To remain anonymous or potentially receive a reward, contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS(8477) if you have any information regarding the incident.