AJ Messmer, 16, was murdered in a house fire in Boone County on Wednesday morning, according to neighbors and family. According to a news release from Florence Fire Chief Rodney Wren, firefighters were dispatched to Maher Road at 1:38 a.m. for a structure fire.
According to wcpo.com, Crews rescued two juveniles and took them to the hospital when they arrived. Messmer died as a result of his injuries. Madelynn McDaniel, a neighbor, said she stood by and watched while crews rescued her companion.
“We were meant to graduate the following year, which would be difficult because we were such good friends,” McDaniel explained. In a statement, Boone County Schools spokesperson Barbara Cain-Brady said the district is mourning the loss of a pupil.
“At IGNITE, Ryle High School, and Gray Middle School, where the student’s siblings and classmates all go,” Cain-Brady added, “counselors and therapists will be accessible for students today and for as long as is needed.” The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. At this point, Messmer’s father has requested seclusion.