UPDATE 1:56 p.m. (2/15/22): Police confirmed a man has been arrested for murder and arson after his father, a retired assistant police chief in Buena Vista, was found dead in a burned home on Friday.

At approximately 9:40 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, Virginia State Police say they received a request from Buena Vista Police Department to investigate a suspicious fire at a home in the 1300 block of Cherry Avenue.

Authorities say Buena Vista officers were responding to a request for a “welfare check” that morning when they discovered the house was on fire. The Buena Vista Fire Department immediately responded to the scene and extinguished the fire before personnel discovered a man’s remains inside the home.

The remains were transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Roanoke for autopsy, examination, and positive identification.

Officials have confirmed that 59-year-old Phillip Edmond “Jay” Patterson II of Buena Vista, a retired member of the Buena Vista Police Department, was dead before the fire was set.

By working with the Buena Vista Police Department and the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police say 35-year-old Jonathan Kane Patterson was identified as a suspect in the investigation into the fire and his father’s death.

By 10:40 a.m. on Friday, the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office reportedly tracked down and took Jonathan Patterson into custody at his home along Still House Drive in Buena Vista. He was then charged by the Virginia State Police with one felony count of murder and one felony count of arson in connection with the incident.

Police say Jonathan Patterson is currently being held without bond at the Rockbridge County Jail.

As of this writing, this homicide/arson investigation is still ongoing, authorities say.


UPDATE 11:55 a.m. (2/15/22): The medical examiner confirmed to WFXR News that the manner of death for Phillip “Jay” Patterson, a former assistant police chief for Buena Vista, has been ruled as a homicide.

According to the medical examiner, the retired officer died from sharp force injury to the head, neck, and chest.

Officials say Patterson was found dead after a house fire along Cherry Avenue on Friday, Feb. 11.

Meanwhile, court records show that Jonathan Kane Patterson — who is listed in the former cop’s obituary as Patterson’s son — has been charged with second-degree murder and arson in connection with an incident from Friday. 

Jonathan has a hearing to appoint an attorney at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 17 in the Buena Vista General District Court.


UPDATE 11:30 a.m. (2/12/22): The Buena Vista Police Department has confirmed that a retired Buena Vista police officer was killed in a house fire on Friday.

Both family members and police told WFXR News that Phillip “Jay” Patterson, for the city, was the man found dead after the fire.

The department says officers responded to a welfare check at a home in the area of 13th Street and Cherry Avenue for a welfare check on Friday, Feb. 11. When they arrived at the scene, they were not able to immediately enter the home because of the smoke and flames.

Crews were ultimately able to extinguish the fire, made it inside of the home, and found Patterson’s body.

Authorities say Patterson served the Buena Vista community for 32 years before he retired in 2014. However, he continued his law enforcement career for an additional seven years with the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Police Department in Lexington, where he achieved the rank of sergeant before leaving late last year.

“Law enforcement and our local community are heartbroken over the sudden and tragic loss of Jay. He was a great leader, friend, and mentor to the many officers he met and worked with during his 39-year career in law enforcement. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Patterson family and all of Jay’s friends.”

Statement released by the Buena Vista Police Department on Feb. 12, 2022

The department says that due to the complexity and nature of the incident, Virginia State Police are handling the investigation into Patterson’s death.


UPDATE 6:04 p.m.: While officials have not confirmed it, family members and neighbors tell WFXR News that the person who died in the house fire along Cherry Avenue was a retired Buena Vista police officer named Jay Patterson.

Police say state troopers are working the scene of the Buena Vista house fire where a man’s body was found after an incident at 9:30 a.m.

Virginia State Police say they hope to have an update on this investigation by Saturday, Feb. 12, adding that there is no danger to the public at this time.


BUENA VISTA, Va. (WFXR) — Authorities are investigating after a house fire in Buena Vista led to the discovery of a dead body.

The fire reportedly occurred at a home along Cherry Avenue.

WFXR News has reached out to the Buena Vista Police Department for more information about this incident.

(Photo: Rhian Lowndes/WFXR News)

This is a developing story. Check back with WFXR News for updates.