LOGANVILLE, Ga. — A 15-year-old boy has been arrested on murder charges after police say he set a fire at his Gwinnett County home that killed his 10-year-old sister.
Firefighters received a call of two children under the age of 15 trapped in a burning home in the 4400 block of Beaver Road SW in unincorporated Loganville around 4:57 a.m.
The girl who died was found in a bedroom with no window access. She has not been identified.
The 15-year-old boy who was thought to be in the home was later found safe at another location.
Police said Monday that the 15-year-old has now been charged with malice and felony murder and that he is the victim’s brother. He is also likely to be charged with arson in the 1st degree.
A murder warrant released Tuesday reads he had malice aforethought, defined as the intention to cause harm before he committed the crime.
The teen’s identity has not been released due to his age. It’s unclear if his sister died in the fire or before the fire was set.
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Fire officials said that two adults, five children, two dogs and two cats lived at the home.
One adult and four of the children were home when the fire broke out. The two dogs survived, but both cats died.
Fire officials say the 15-year-old intentionally set the fire, though his motive is unclear.
Loganville resident Mike Kilgore told Channel 2 that when he awoke to lights and sirens lining beaver road he knew it was something dire.
“When I first woke up, I thought car wreck,” he said. “It was basically ambulances, fire trucks, stretching a good quarter mile long”
He said he and other neighbors were shocked to learn a fire that gutted the home was started by a sibling of the victim.
“Yeah that’s, that … I don’t know what to say,” he said.
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It’s unclear how the child died.
The Red Cross is helping the family with temporary shelter.
Neighbors said the family has been living there for at least 20 years and the children were homeschooled.
Police said the family is cooperating with police and they have not formally charged anyone in this case at this time.
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