Family members said on Thursday that they wanted answers from investigators, eight months after a man's body was found inside a burned home.
Harry Smith was found inside his burning home on Oct. 16, 10TV's Glenn McEntyre reported.
Smith's relatives said that they thought the 89-year-old was murdered inside the house. They blamed the Ross County Sheriff's Office for a botched investigation that has kept them from the truth about Smith's death.
Jerry Smith said that he last saw his father alive at a family reunion.
"He was in good spirits; he was happy," Jerry Smith said.
One day later, Jerry Smith said that he was asked to identify his father's body at a hospital.
"His face was all black and blue and swollen," Jerry Smith said. "He looked like he had been in a fight with a prize fighter. He was unrecognizable."
Family members said that investigators focused on suicide, McEntyre reported.
"When they came out with this theory of he was a depressed widower, he was in poor health, he just wanted to go be with his wife again, within the first hour, I think that just derailed everything," said Andrea Smith, a relative and the family spokeswoman.
Andrea Smith also said a number of personal items were missing from Smith's home and he suffered injuries consistent with an assault.
"The condition of his body -- you don't do things like that to yourself," Andrea Smith said.
Despite the evidence, family members said that the sheriff's office has stymied their effort to get answers.
Andrea Smith said that she thinks the sheriff questions whether he can solve the alleged crime.
"I think there's a serious level of incompetence," Andrea Smith said.
Family members said that they have hired a private investigator from Columbus to help figure out what happened to Smith.
Sheriff George Lavender did not immediately return calls from 10TV News.
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