16-year-old faces murder, arson charges after Middle Georgia house fire kills 2

16-year-old faces murder, arson charges after Middle Georgia house fire kills 2

By Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A 16-year-old girl from Middle Georgia was found in Kentucky, hours after a fire ripped through her home and killed two people.

The teenager now faces arson and murder charges.

Candace Walton, 16, faces two counts of murder, a count of arson and multiple counts of theft by taking following the deadly house fire Thursday morning, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Anna Lewis told AJC.com. Kentucky authorities pulled over Walton in her mother’s stolen car later Thursday, leading to her arrest.

First responders arrived at the structure on Old Zebulon Road about 3:30 a.m. and found about half of the building engulfed in flames, AJC.com previously reported. Two bodies were found inside.

The sheriff’s office initially identified the two victims as Candace Walton and her brother, 21-year-old Gerald Walton. But they later retracted Candace Walton’s identification, saying that victim’s identity was not accurately confirmed.

On Friday, Lewis said investigators believe Gerald Walton and the siblings’ mother, Tasha Vandiver, are the two victims, but they are waiting for the GBI to confirm both identities.

Vandiver has not been seen since the fire and was reported as missing by authorities shortly after. The sheriff’s office previously said that Vandiver’s vehicle had been located but would not say where it was found.

Candace Walton was found by deputies in McCracken County, Kentucky, Lewis said. That county is more than 450 miles from Monroe County.

She was pulled over because the vehicle had been marked as stolen or in danger since Vandiver had been reported as missing, Lewis said. Because of the “suspicious nature of the incident,” Candace Walton was taken into custody, allowing Monroe County deputies to visit and interview her in jail.

Candace Walton is awaiting extradition to Georgia to face her charges. No other information has been released.



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