Delano Grangruth, a 58-year-old resident of Norfolk, is being charged with the second-degree murder of his late wife Kathleen White-Grangruth. Although the suspect initially told detectives that he was out drinking at a bar on the night of his wife’s death, he has finally confessed to intentionally dousing his wife in gasoline and burning her alive.
Police were initially informed about a problem when Grangruth’s caregiver smelled something burning and called 911. Kathleen White-Grangruth was 61-years-old and required a caregiver because she was disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The victim suffered from both schizophrenia and dementia. Firefighters rushed to the scene, but Kathleen was heavily burned by the time they arrived. She was still stuck in her wheelchair.
Detectives immediately noticed the wheelchair had extremely high oxidation levels that were visible on the metal, and the carpet around the chair appeared to be doused in a liquid. Investigators instantly made the connection and realized an accelerant had been used.
Officers began to search for the victim’s husband, and they eventually found him riding his bicycle on the Military Highway. The suspect told the police that him and his wife were fighting, so he had slept at a nearby bar after a heavy night of drinking.
Norfolk Police then request search warrants to examine the man’s DNA, clothes, bicycle and home. Detectives searched the man’s clothes and discovered accelerant. They found significant evidence that the victim had been burned alive. When they approached the suspect with this new information, he fully confessed to his deeds.