Steubenville police investigate suspicious death

STEUBENVILLE — The body of a 32-year-old woman who apparently died under suspicious circumstances was discovered early Monday morning on Maxwell Avenue, not far from the scene of a house fire.

Police Chief Bill McCafferty said authorities aren’t ready to identify the victim, a woman, but they have identified a person of interest in the incident, Jason Cortez Twiley.

Twiley, 27, is a black male who stands about 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 220 pounds, McCafferty said.

Officers were dispatched to the 400 block of Maxwell after receiving a report that someone had heard “the sound of breaking glass,” McCafferty said. After smoke was seen coming from the windows of a house at 417 Maxwell, authorities “checked the residence and observed the living room area to be on fire,” McCafferty said.

“Officers kicked in the back door, and they entered the residence,” McCafferty said. “They were able to get to the kitchen and located a small dog. They got (it) out (then) they had to leave because the smoke became too much.”

City firefighters arrived on scene and were able to extinguish the fire and then turned the scene over to detectives, McCafferty said.

“Evidence found inside the house after the fire department cleared it led detectives to believe foul play had occurred,” McCafferty said.

After canvassing the neighborhood and talking to witnesses, “information was obtained, and a body was located a short distance from the scene of the fire.”

He said the coroner has not released the cause of death.