Blaze in Pleasant Prairie at home belonging to couple on trial this week; two bodies pulled from home

PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- Firefighters from multiple departments battled a house fire in Pleasant Prairie early Thursday morning, March 19th. Pleasant Prairie police say the scene is being treated as a crime scene, and the bodies of two people were pulled from the home.

Police say they received a report of an active house fire in the 1800 block of 128th Street shortly before 1:30 a.m. Thursday. The home belongs to a couple on trial this week on charges they neglected dozens of horses, causing their death. Neighbors and property records indicate the home belongs to David White and Paula Moctezuma. Court records show they were due in court Thursday morning, but they never showed.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control. Then, police, fire officials and the State Fire Marshals Office began investigating the cause of the fire.

During the course of that investigation, the remains of two people and a dog were located in the home. Those remains have not been identified, and a cause of death has not yet been determined.

Neighbors say seeing all the law enforcement officials outside the house on Thursday reminds them of a day back in April of 2013 when authorities found 55 dead horses and dozens of other living animals that appeared to be neglected. That led to the couple facing a series of felony charges for the mistreatment of animals.

A witness who did not want to be identified tells FOX6 News he saw the fire early Thursday and then heard an explosion. After the explosion, that witness said he heard what seemed to be gunfire -- "like bullets went off." The witness said the house went up in flames "super quick."

"Saw the fire start from the east side of the home, right by the driveway, and then heard an explosion.  Called it in and was on phone with dispatch with Pleasant Prairie. Heard the explosion, and then heard what seemed to be gunfire -- like bullets went off.  That`s when dispatch said 'we`re sending out the fire department.'  That`s when I backed up because I was worried that it might be bullets," the witness said.

Another witness says it took at least two hours to put out the fire.

"It took them awhile. Then they started entering in. I wanna say a few hours later, they came out with three bags which looked like people they were carrying out," the witness said.

Court records show White and Moctezuma had been in court all week for their trial. On Wednesday afternoon, closing arguments were made, and the jury began deliberating.

On Thursday evening, the jury found White and Moctezuma guilty on all counts. A warrant has been issued for their arrest.

Alyssa Koepsel and her daughter Jessica are friends of the couple.

"Dave and Paula would give you the shirt off their backs," Alyssa Koepsel said.

Alyssa Koepsel says she has a feeling her life-long friends are gone.

"They`re not forgotten.  They`re always going to be part of my history and my memories, and they were all good memories," Koepsel said.

"It`s a tragedy.  They were good people and this should not have happened," Jessica Koepsel said.

Alyssa and Jessica Koepsel wonder whether David White and Paula Moctezuma may have known what was coming Thursday.

"If things had gone poorly with the verdict, they would probably be in jail the rest of their lives. They would have stuck together no matter what. They would not have left each other's side," Alyssa Koepsel said.

Again -- officials have not yet identified the bodies pulled from the home.

FOX6 News has reached out to David White and Paula Moctezuma's attorney, but we have not heard back.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.