The Murder of Nanette Krentel

July 14, 2017 seemed to be just another day. Nanette Krentel and her husband, Steve, woke up and went throughout their usual morning routine. Steve Krentel was the fire chief a the St. Tammany Fire Protection District Number 12. However, this day would not end as it normally did for the couple living in Lacombe, Louisiana. 

Nanette Krentel was a retired teacher. The 49 year old left home that morning to run a few errands with her beloved dog. She was seen on camera at a McDonald's in Slidell. Both her cell phone and credit card records back up this sighting at the fast food chain. She was then seen again driving by a home near her own on security camera just after 9 am. She called in a prescription refill later that morning and then a placed a call from her cell phone around 1:30pm.

A call to 911 was placed around 2:30 pm. The first 2 units on scene were from the St. Tammany Parish Sherriff's Office. Their camera footage shows that Steve's unit was the first from the fire department on scene although it was not fully equipped with everything needed to fight the first. The Krentel's home burned to the ground with Nanette, the family's 2 cats and dog inside. The Louisiana State Fire Marshall was called in around 4 pm to investigate the fire that was intentionally set. Steve finally called Nan's dad and left a voicemail just before 7 that evening. Once her father knew, he immediately notified the rest of the family. Some of them went to the crime scene that night. Eventually, the St Tammany Parrish Sheriff's Office secured the scene for the night in an effort to maintain evidence and the integrity of the scene. Nanette's body was removed from the home around 9 pm that night according to one of her sisters.

How did Nanette die exactly?2

Nanette's body was located in the  master bathroom face up. She had been shot in the head. Depending upon what article you read, I have seen that the manner of death was not listed as homicide and then in another article from 2020 provided a copy of the death certificate stating cause of death as homicide. It was rumored that the police has a theory that Nanette shot herself after setting the fire or fires that eventually burned the house to the ground. The investigation went on to uncover that accelerant had been poured on the DVR in the living room that held all of the footage from the security system in the Krentel home. More accelerant was found in the master bedroom and there were two spots where the fire originated. 

Botched Investigation or Cover Up

After releasing the scene, Nan's sister and her boyfriend (who was a volunteer firefighter) walked the scene. As they explored the remains of the Krentel home, they took photos of what was left behind including a gun. They couldn't believe the evidence that was left behind. This evidence included guns, the bodies of the family's pets and the DVR that housed the security footage! Police stated that one of the guns left behind wasn't taken because it didn't match the suspected murder weapon. Which is odd because the family wasn't made aware that Nan had been shot until the following Friday. 

When it comes to the DVR, the FBI was unable to recover anything from it due to how badly it had been damaged in the fire. Steve also reported at a later time that the home surveillance system had been accidentally deactivated the night prior to the fire and Nan's murder. 

Five days after releasing the crime scene, STPSO re-secured it to collect additional evidence. In addition to the DVR, they also found Nanette's hand gun. This was a gun that she carried on her person frequently for protection. This is the one weapon collected that could not be ruled out as the possible murder weapon. Due to the way the investigation was being handled by the state fire marshal, Steve hired a private arson investigator.

Of course, being the husband, Steve was the first suspect. However, he had a solid alibi for the day. Steve also passed a polygraph at some point in the investigation. He seemed to be forthcoming as he admitted to an affair and that Nan knew. Yet, he claims that they were  working things out. 

In addition to Steve, both his son and brother , Bryan, were looked at as suspects by STPSO. Both men were later cleared and said to have solid alibis as well. Only years later would it be discovered that Bryan's GPS ankle bracelet had been deactivated. He was on probation and that monitor was his alibi. 

However, the story Steve gives and what Nanette's family says has had the two sides at odds since her murder.

According to Nanette's family, she had told them that she was worried about her safety. That's why she was constantly shooting targets and carried a gun on her person. She was afraid of her brother in law, Bryan. The family claims that they have many emails backing up their claims. 

Trespassing and an Arrest

Throughout the course of the investigation, no arrest in connection with Nanette Krentel's murder has been made. However, the case had some unusual happenings. 

In 2019, Nan's sister, Wendy, was investigated for trespassing on the property formerly owned by Steve and Nanette. After the fire, Steve put a memorial up on the property and Nan's family had visited there before. However, after viewing the memorial, Wendy and her friend were chased  by Steve shortly after leaving the Krentel's former property. While he was following them, she texted Sheriff Randy Smith. Later that day, the sheriff's office contacted her to come in to sign a summons for trespassing. 

However, that wasn't the only strange occurrence connected to the case in 2019. A federal agent was arrested for criminal defamation. Jerry Rogers Jr was with the Office of the Inspector General for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to authorities, he had set an email using a fake name and had been sending emails to Nanette's family. These emails contained disparaging statement about the lead investigator and others involved in the investigation. According to the police, this destroyed the relationship between Nanette's family and the department. 

Although this case has long gone cold, in 2020 the St. Tammany District Attorney's Office subpoenaed the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office for any and all files from the investigation into the murder of Nanette Krentel. 

If you have any information into the murder of Nanette, please call the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office at 985-898-2338.



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