Teen charged with murder after sister, 10, dies in Loganville house fire

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10-year-old girl’s death in Gwinnett County fire being investigated as homicide

A 15-year-old boy is accused of intentionally setting a fire that killed his 10-year-old sister, who was trapped inside her bedroom in their Loganville home on Easter Sunday, officials said.

Gwinnett County police are investigating the girl’s death as a homicide. She was identified by family as Zoe McCue.

The teenage boy was taken into custody Sunday afternoon after hours of searching for him, as the family and firefighters believed he was still inside the burning home on Beaver Road.

The brother, whose name was not released, is charged with malice murder and felony murder, according to police. Arson charges are pending the completion of the fire department’s investigation.

Around 5 a.m., Gwinnett firefighters arrived at the single-story residence and found heavy flames. An adult and two children had already escaped the home before fire crews arrived, but the two missing children were believed to still be inside.

“Multiple aggressive search attempts were executed to locate the missing children,” fire spokesperson Lt. Justin Wilson said in a news release. “After the fire was brought under control, a 10-year-old female victim was located deceased in a room used as a bedroom without window access.”

Firefighters continued to sift through the charred debris for hours looking for the 15-year-old boy. He was found safe around 9 a.m. at another location and did not appear to have any injuries, Wilson said.

A 10-year-old girl was found dead inside her burned Loganville home Sunday morning. A second child, initially missing, was found safe about four hours later.

Credit: Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services

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Credit: Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services

The residence sustained extensive fire damage throughout the front half and the attic, he said. Two cats were also found dead inside.

Seven people lived in the home, including two adults and five children. According to a family member, smoke alarms were installed but did not activate, officials said.

By Sunday afternoon, fire investigators suspected arson, and Gwinnett police took over the death investigation.

“At this time, it has been determined the fire was set intentionally by a sibling of the deceased victim,” a police spokesperson said in a statement. “This is still an active investigation and is being treated as a homicide. Gwinnett police detectives are working closely with arson investigators throughout the duration of this investigation.”

Gwinnett police chaplains and the American Red Cross are assisting the family with temporary needs.