Wayne Cheney was rushed to the hospital after his mobile home exploded on Thursday morning, February 7, 2019, police told RadarOnline.com.
"At 9:30 am on Feb. 7 the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office received multiple reports of a mobile home explosion and fire at 2161 470th Avenue in rural Deep River," authorities have said in a statement. "The owner of the home, Wayne Cheney, age 56, was transported to the University of Iowa Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the blast."
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Cheney was questioned in connection with the disappearance of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts, who vanished during a routine jog in her secluded hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa, last summer.
But Cheney had no involvement at all and after a month-long search, police arrested Cristhian Bahena Rivera, 24, charging him with first-degree murder in Tibbetts' death.
The suspected murderer is housed at the Poweshiek County Jail in lieu of $5 million bail and is scheduled to stand trial in Sept. 2019.
Now, however, Cheney has lost his home.
"No one else was in the home at the time of the incident and the house was destroyed," local authorities confirmed to RadarOnline.com about Cheney's mobile home. "The cause of the explosion remains under investigation by the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshall's Office."
The place in Poweshiek County in Central Iowa where Mollie's body was discovered is located near the property of Cheney, the hog farmer who was quizzed on multiple occasions by the FBI after police found a red shirt that was believed to belong to the rising sophomore on his property.
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Local, state and federal authorities combed through the farmland owned by Cheney but he was ultimately cleared of any involvement in the case.
"It's a total shame," a neighbor of Cheney told RadarOnline.com. "He's a quiet guy, nice neighbor and he was honestly victimized not just by the community – but by the world. He may be odd, but he's not a killer. He's just trying to make a living."
A family member of Cheney told RadarOnline.com that he is expected to be released from the hospital later today.
The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time. "There is no reason to believe that Mr. Cheney was involved – but the investigation is being taken very seriously and we expect to have answers in the coming days."
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