Man Found Dead in Council Bluffs Fire Faced Assault Charges - FOX 42: Omaha News, Sports and Weather; |

Man Found Dead in Council Bluffs Fire Faced Assault Charges

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Maureen Wurtz

Council Bluffs, IOWA (KPTM)- Months of stalking and harassment came to a fiery end Monday. "I never expected something like that to happen," said John Larchick.

Larchick has lived in his home near 46th and Norwood for nine years.  He said his son was home alone when a fire destroyed his next-door neighbors house. "He couldn't really see our house-he didn't know if it was on fire or what."

Neighbors stood watching, shocked, as firefighters battled a house fire around 3:30 Monday.

It wasn't until hours later when they found the body of Mark Vanderwoude, 43, in the master bathroom. Vanderwoude and his estranged wife, Lori, owned the home.

"What we were seeing is what I would call is kind of a textbook escalation of a domestic violence situation," said Pottawattamie County Attorney, Matt Wilbur.

Wilbur said Vanderwoude was facing multiple charges, include assault with a deadly weapon and stalking.

"He tried to run his wife off the road, there was a car chase," said Wilbur.

Wilbur said Vanderwoude had tried to fill the home near 46th and Norwood with carbon monoxide and tampered with the gas line.

"It's scary, because I mean, he could blow up the whole neighborhood," said Larchick.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. Authorities said they do believe an accelerant was used.

When firefighters got to the house, Vanderwoude's car was running in the driveway. He was nowhere in sight.

"He could have been caught up in his own scheme," said Wilbur.

The only damage to Larchick's house was a melted fence.

He said he's relieved to know the family doesn't have to worry anymore, but sad that it turned out to be such an explosive ending.

 "To a point where you get tired of it," said Larchick. "We wanted something to happen, to get this guy."

The cause of death is still being investigated. Officials said they hope to have results by the end of this week.

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