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Arrests made in burning death of Nova Scotia homeless man

April 25, 2014, Halifax – The RCMP say they have made two arrests in the death a homeless man last year in a burning bus shelter in rural Nova Scotia.

April 25, 2014
By The Canadian Press

April 25, 2014, Halifax – The RCMP say they have made two arrests in the death a homeless man last year in a burning bus shelter in rural Nova Scotia.

Sgt. Alain LeBlanc said Friday no charges have been laid but two people were arrested overnight and are being interviewed by police.

Harley Lawrence died on Oct. 23 in Berwick in the province's Annapolis Valley.

Police have released few details about the death of the 62-year-old man, except that it is considered suspicious. They have also not released the findings of an autopsy.

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Police say they arrested one person at about midnight in Berwick and a second individual at about 1:20 a.m. in the Sackville area in Halifax.

A woman who was delivering newspapers early on the morning Lawrence's body was found has said she saw flames rising from inside the shelter and initially thought it was a pile of leaves.

Shannon Taylor said firefighters arrived soon after and put out the blaze, but weren't able to save the man.

She said about 10 minutes before the blaze, she saw two young men, possibly in their late teens or early 20s, fill a small jug at a gas station and head in the direction of the shelter. She said it looked like one used for windshield washer fluid.

Police have refused to comment on the claims.

People in the community said Lawrence began using the shelter for refuge as temperatures dipped last fall.

Ronald Lawrence has said his brother had a mental health problem that wasn't diagnosed, but it seemed to surface when he was about 25.

He said the family tried repeatedly to help him but he often pushed them away and moved on to another community.