Houston lobbyist identified as body from burned building

HOUSTON – The Harris County medical examiner’s office has identified the charred body found in the rubble of a burned home as that of Houston City Hall lobbyist Ross Allyn.

A spokesman for the medical examiner’s office said dental records were use to make a positive ID because the body was burned beyond recognition.

An autopsy report said that Allyn, who was implicated and then cleared in a 1997 Houston City Council bribery scandal, had been shot in the back. Police said no weapons were found in the home.

The cause of the early morning blaze is still under investigation.

Homicide Sgt. Wayne Wendel said he believes it was arson, while chief arson investigator Roy Paul said he believes it was an accident because there were no signs that accelerants had been used.

Only the blackened, charred frame of the home remained; there was a large hole in the roof. Burnt belongings covered the front yard.

Allyn’s body was found near the front door, indicating he was trying to escape, officials said.

Friends were surprised to learn Allyn had been shot to death because he never spoke of having problems with anyone.

City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado said Allyn was happy when she talked to him Thursday and seemed excited about events they planned to attend together Friday night.

Friend Paul Gomberg said that he last saw Allyn Thursday night. The two went to a fund-raiser and went to a restaurant for dinner, he said in the Houston Chronicle’s Saturday online edition.

Active in politics for more than 20 years, 45-year-old Allyn survived a high-profile City Hall bribery trial before charges against him were dismissed in 1998.

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