LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI and Press Release) — The death Monday of a Lowndes County woman in a house fire has been ruled a homicide and a reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest.
On Monday, Aug. 11, Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department responded to 369 Downs road for a trailer fire. Neighbors reported hearing an explosion at about 3 a.m. and looking out to find their neighbor’s trailer fully engulfed with flames coming from the front and rear mid section of the single-wide trailer.
While fighting the fire it was determined that the resident of the trailer, 46-year-old Gwen Roberson, was inside the home deceased.
She was discovered in the kitchen area near a door but was facing away from the door. That location was one of the first things that raised suspicions, officials said. Finding nothing on or near the stove also raised questions, suggesting it may not have been a kitchen fire.
Two cats also died in the fire and two others escaped.
Coroner Greg Merchant transported Ms. Roberson to the State Medical Examiner’s office. During the autopsy it was determined to be a homicide. The case is currently under investigation by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department, State Fire Marshal’s Office and the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Merchant nor Lowndes County Sheriff’s Chief Det. Ryan Rickert would not disclose the actual cause of death or many details about the investigation.
“She did not die of fire or smoke,” Merchant said, declining to discuss further details.
Rickert said neighbors didn’t report hearing or seeing anyone in the area and investigators know little about Roberson, who lived alone.
“We don’t have a whole lot of info…we are still trying to sort through her friends and associates,” Rickert said.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering a $5,00 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. The Columbus Crime Stoppers will reward information up $1,00.00.
Any information please call Columbus Crime Stoppers 1-800-530-7151, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department 66-328-6788, or 911.