Local News

Moore County house fire turns up murder victim

Posted August 26, 2014 4:22 p.m. EDT
Updated August 28, 2014 2:01 p.m. EDT

— A fire investigation has turned into a homicide case involving a 71-year-old man found inside his burning home in Moore County was murdered.

Firefighters found Elden Kitson Vanderwall early Saturday while responding to the blaze at 216 Brewer Road in Seagrove.

Investigators have not said how Vanderwall died – only that an autopsy found his death was not a result of the fire.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 910-947-2931 or the department's anonymous tip line at 910-947-4444.

Vanderwall was a potter, well-known in Seagrove for his unique "ugly jugs" which feature grotesque, comical faces on the crafted containers.

He owned a store, Lantern Hill Pottery, in Seagrove and lived in the secluded home about 15 minutes away, where he and several employees made the pottery.

Those who knew him say his loss is not only one for his family but for the community.

"If there's not a tear in every potter's eye today, there's something wrong," friend and fellow potter Phil Morgan said Wednesday. "We are a wide-net family, fishing out of the same pond, basically."