A Father's Grief After Daughter's Body Found in Burned-Down Home: 'I Knew She Had Been Murdered'
Dan Watson has always known that someone murdered his daughter Nanette Krentel. But more than a year after her death, the mystery remains: Who did it?
Krentel’s body was found on July 14, 2017, amid the remains of her burned-down home in Lacombe, Louisiana, where she lived with her fire chief husband.
“The minute I heard that she had died, I knew she had been murdered,” her dad tells PEOPLE.
His suspicion was confirmed a week later when a coroner ruled that Krentel was killed before the fire engulfed the house. She had been fatally shot in the head.
Whoever it was that killed her was also responsible for the deaths of her beloved cats, Baby Kitty and Smokey, and her Chihuahua, Harley, who was found nearby.
Despite multiple people falling under suspicion, each of them has been cleared as of now and no arrests have been made.
The case is featured on the season premiere of People Magazine Investigates, airing Monday night on Investigation Discovery. (An exclusive clip from the episode is above.)
“There is a cold-blooded killer in our midst and that should be of great concern to every citizen of k,” Watson wrote in December on a Justice for Nanette Facebook page. “This monster has complete and total disregard for life… He must be caught and brought to justice for what he did.”
Watson wrote that he wouldn’t stop until the murderer was caught — “until every lead has been investigated and every possibility exhausted.”
• For more on this story, see “Somebody’s Watching,” the first episode in the new season of People Magazine Investigates, premiering Monday, Nov. 5, at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.
Some 16 months since Krentel’s death and Watson remembers his slain daughter as a generous woman with a bright spirit and a great sense of humor.
A former preschool teacher, Krentel was known to make pies and brownies and bring them down to the fire station where her husband, Steve Krentel, worked. She also made ceramic plates that she auctioned off for cystic fibrosis.
“She could laugh at herself and she had a great selection of friends,” Watson says. “She was very outgoing.”
So far, police have precious few leads in the homicide investigation.
“As far as I know nothing is surfacing as taking the investigation anywhere,” Watson says.
The blaze at Krentel’s home was so fierce that it ravaged a video surveillance recorder that may have provided a picture of her killer and obliterated any chance of discovering if the fire-damaged gun found near her body was the same weapon used to kill her.
Even surveillance footage from a local fast-food restaurant that seemed to show Krentel’s car and a woman who looked like her picking up food earlier that morning provided little insight.
The fire’s cause also remains unclear: As of this writing, police say they still haven’t received the findings from the Louisiana Fire Marshal.
In the course of their investigation, authorities focused their attention on various men in Krentel’s life. Among them was her husband, Steve, who admitted cheating on his wife of 22 years with a colleague — but law enforcement was able to confirm that at the time of Nanette’s death, he was at the fire station about 17 miles away. Plus he asked for and passed a polygraph test.
Those closest to Nanette say she was terrified of Steve’s brother, Brian, an ex-con who had recently been released from prison. Steve tells PEOPLE that Brian blamed the couple for turning him in after he wrecked his mother’s car.
However, police ruled him out after security video placed him at his mom’s house on the day of the killing.
Investigators also looked at Steve’s son, Justin, after Nanette claimed on Facebook that he owned multiple guns. But he was out of state at the time, according to officials.
“We have been praying a lot,” Nanette’s dad says. “I used to talk to her several times a week. I miss hearing her voice and not being able to visit again. It has been tough.”
Anyone with information about Nanette’s death is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 504-822-1111 or detective Daniel Buckner in the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office at 985-726-7835.
People Magazine Investigates: Somebody’s Watching airs Monday (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.