Harold Edwards charged with murder in death of 96-year-old woman, Polo arsons

Harold Edwards was charged with murder in the death of Lorene Fickess.
Harold Edwards was charged with murder in the death of Lorene Fickess.(Caldwell County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 3:51 PM CDT
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POLO, Mo. (KCTV) - The 28-year-old man accused of arson in Caldwell County during the summer has been charged with murder in connection with one of those fires.

The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department announced Friday afternoon that Harold Edwards, Jr. was charged with first-degree murder, first-and second-degree burglary, second-degree arson, abandonment of a corpse, armed criminal action and tampering with physical evidence.

According to court records, on May 10 just after 8:30 a.m., investigators were called to a fire at the home of 96-year-old Lorene Fickess off State Route D in Polo, Missouri. They discovered the beloved mother and grandmother did not survive.

“I guess I just didn’t expect her story to end this way,” granddaughter of Lorene Fickess Christal Hicks said in May. “She had asked my dad, her oldest son, if he thought that she would make it to 100 and he said, ‘absolutely, yes.’ Two days later, she’s gone.”

After the first fire, neighbors told investigators a younger black man driving a black Ford Escape with dark tinted windows stopped in the middle of the street almost directly in front of the grandmother’s home. He asked if “everyone was ok?”

While on the scene of the first fire, first responders received another call from employees of the Platte-Clay Electric Company who saw smoke coming from another home on State Route D in Polo. They saw a black Ford Escape with dark, tinted windows parked near the burning home.

Then a third fire was reported by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper off at State Route D in Kingston, MO approximately two miles away from the second fire. The upstairs and downstairs drapes were set on fire.

Investigators found video surveillance from a Caldwell County school of a vehicle that witnesses spotted at the fire scenes. Photos of the vehicle were released to the public.

Edwards was arrested and charged June 13 with arson, burglary and property damage.