Sex Offender Charged With Killing South Bend Teen, Burning House

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Prosecutors have charged a convicted sex offender with murder and arson in the death of his girlfriend's 14-year-old daughter.

Nicole Dodd's body was found by firefighters Thursday night after a fire was reported at her mother's home.

Joseph Grembowicz, 44, was being held without bond in the St. Joseph County Jail pending arraignment hearing scheduled for Monday.

The St. Joseph County prosecutor's office filed charges on Saturday against Grembowicz, who had moved in with Dodd's mother in May and has a criminal record including arson, burglary and sexual battery.

According to court documents, firefighters found Dodd's body at the bottom of the basement stairs, near where the fire was set. They were unable to revive her and she was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Medical personnel and firefighters reported finding strangulation marks about her neck and bruises around her wrists. An autopsy found that the girl died from strangulation before the fire.

Grembowicz told investigators he had been in an argument with the girl earlier that night and that he did not like how she had spoken to him, authorities said. He told police officers he left the house after the fight, drank six beers and then returned home and went to sleep.

Grembowicz told detectives he left the house a short time before the fire was reported to pick up the girl's mother from work and that he did not see the girl or notice anything out of the ordinary, court documents said.