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Former detective and wife die in fire

WYOMING, Ohio (Deb Dixon) -- Hank Drescher had one of those minds that could piece together the puzzle of a  murder.

Detectives who worked with him are remembering his years in Cincinnati's Homicide Unit.  He and his wife, Janet, died together early Sunday in a fire in their Wyoming home.

When I interviewed Hank Drescher back in October  he recalled details of the 1977 torture slaying of 79-year-old Norma Musser inside her West End home.  She died of asphyxiation from a rope that left her dangling  above the floor.

Drescher said, "She was beaten beyond recognition.  I don't know why they had to do that I don't  know."

Drescher said the robbers left then came back just in case Norma was alive.

"Took a can of gasoline threw it over the first floor threw a match into it," he continued.

Drescher identified Norma's killer who was arrested in Detroit.  Gerry Gramke went with Drescher to bring Andre Stockton back to Cincinnati.

"He was real detailed. Could  put it all together. Very good at what he did," Gramke said.

Drescher also worked on the 1979  murders of police officers Bob Seiffert and Dennis Bennington.  The two were killed the same night by the same man.  Drescher helped to make the streets safer.  He enjoyed his job and did it well.

What Hank couldn't do was escape the smoky fire in his home.  He and wife Janet were found on the floor of their bedroom as if they tried to get out, but were overcome.  A neighbor saw the early morning flames and called for help. The Dreschers died at area hospitals.

There are two fire investigations going on and at this time there is no evidence of arson.  There was no lightening that night and one possibility is an electrical fire.  Most of the fire was located at the back of the house.

The investigations will be thorough, like a Hank Drescher investigation.  Whatever the cause of the fire, the man who made Cincinnati a safer place to live will be remembered more for how he lived than how he died.

Drescher retired from the Cincinnati Police Department in 1979 with 24 commendations.  He was 87-years-old.

Watch video HERE

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