House Fire Leads to Arson/Murder Investigation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/03/06

House Fire Leads to Arson/Murder Investigation

Disaster struck in the Low Country, where what started as a fire ended up pointing police to some suspicious circumstances. This is what's left of Ellen Anna McCormick's Bluffton home. When firefighters arrived Sunday night around 10pm, the home was completely engulfed in flames. The fire was so hot that it melted the siding on the house next door.

During their search, firefighters found McCormick inside. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Immediately authorities suspected foul play.

"What made this fire suspicious is when firefighters pulled the woman from the blaze, she already had a head injury," said Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Szpanka.

South Carolina arson investigators, Bluffton firefighters and the sheriff's office are all investigating the arson/murder case.

Police arrested McCormick's estranged husband, Charles McCormick, after he threatened the county coroner. He's in the Beaufort County jail charged with threatening the life of a public official.

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