GBI identifies one of three relatives killed in house fire

by: Richard Elliot Updated:


CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - It could take investigators up to a month to positively identify two of the three victims of a deadly house fire in Cherokee County last week.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab used dental records to identify the third victim as 46-year-old Darlene Norrell. Detectives suspect the other two victims are her husband, 49-year old Ricky Norrell, and their daughter, 19-year-old Lindsey, but will await the results of DNA testing.

Firefighters arrived at the Norrell home on Spriggs Trail in Ball Ground last Wednesday to find the house fully engulfed.

While searching the ashes, they discovered the three bodies. The fire burned so hot, investigators could not immediately identify the victims. They also could not make an immediate determination as to the cause of the fire.

"The fire was very hot, and anytime you have a fire like this, it certainly complicates matters," said Maj. Ron Hunton of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

Hunton did not want to speculate as to the identities of the other two victims.

"I've learned something a long time ago," said Hunton. "It's dangerous to make assumptions, and until I know exactly who those people are and some other things, I'm not willing to say what exactly did happen."

Family members at the scene Tuesday asked for privacy but did say the deaths are a huge tragedy for them.

Detectives are asking anyone who has any details of the fire or events leading up to the fire to call the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.