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UPDATE: Second victim in deadly Centerville fire identified

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Posted at 12:35 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 13:35:58-04

The second victim in last week's deadly fire has been identified.

Officials say the second victim, who died yesterday, was Stephanie Joseph, 55.

Last week the State Fire Marshal's Office said that Derwin Hamilton, 49, was booked with second degree murder and attempted second degree murder after he allegedly set his girlfriend and his young nephew on fire. The child died; he has been identified by family as Joshua Hamilton.

State Fire Marshal officials say they anticipate an upgrade in those charges to two counts of second-degree murder.

The incident happened around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13. Fire fighters were called to the 400 block of Prairie Road North in the Centerville community, located in the Franklin area, for a report of a mobile home fire.

Upon arrival, firefighters located a woman and a 5-year-old boy, who were badly burned, outside of the home. Both were transported to area hospitals where the child was pronounced dead and the woman remains in critical condition.

The identification and official cause of death of both victims will be released by the St. Mary Parish Coroner’s Office, SFM says.

Firefighters say they also encountered Hamilton upon their arrival, who was outside of the home with minor burn injuries. The Fire Marshal's Office says that due to statements made by the female victim about the incident, Hamilton was detained by the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office prior to being taken to an area hospital for treatment.

SFM deputies learned that Hamilton and the woman burned were in a relationship and were arguing about ending that relationship when the fire occurred. The woman allegedly reported to first responders that during the argument, Hamilton poured a liquid on her and the child, who is Hamilton’s great nephew, and then set them on fire.

In an interview with deputies, Hamilton allegedly admitted to the crimes.

A warrant was then obtained for Hamilton’s arrest and he was booked following his release from the hospital.

“The ultimate danger is when fire is used to commit a crime,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “In this instance, that crime resulted in the tragic death of an innocent child and left his guardian in critical condition. Our prayers go out to the victims’ families while we pursue justice on their behalf.”

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