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Death investigation ongoing in Dripping Springs house fire

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TWC News: Death investigation ongoing in Dripping Springs house fire
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Officials with Hays County say they believe they have the person responsible for setting a Dripping Springs area house fire where a woman was found dead.

Joseph Alan Carnahan, a 55-year-old Austin resident, was arrested on December 29. Carnahan has been charged with arson and two counts of criminal negligence and endangerment of a child in connection with the fire off RR12 on Dec. 16.

In court documents investigators allege Carnahan started the fires while his twin boys slept in the home. Investigators believe he took property from the home and left the scene.

A body was found inside the charred residence. The investigation into that person’s death is still ongoing.

"It's been an ongoing investigation because of how it went down and circumstances surrounding it which I can't go into," Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said.

According to his arrest affidavits, Carnahan is believed to have started a fire on the second floor in a bedroom where the victim was found, as well as a second fire on the main floor of the home. Police say they believe he used flammable liquids as well as toilet tissue to start the fires.

Now, more than two weeks after the incident, police are waiting for test results
before releasing more information. Cutler said he can’t yet call it a murder.

"Well, that will be determined once they get some evidence analyzed, but they are investigating it, and do have a good suspect," he said.

Now police are waiting for results from the medical examiner before additional charges, if any, are filed.

"Even though it's obvious it's a suspicious death, and that's the way it's being investigated but we need an official ruling from the medical examiner’s office," Cutler said.

Carnahan is currently being held in the Hays County Jail on $400,000 bond.

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