Richmond woman arrested in Garland Avenue fire

Michelle Hampton
Michelle Hampton

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A woman is sitting in jail, accused of setting a deadly fire in the city's Northside.

Police arrested 34-year-old Michelle Hampton, charging her with arson and threatening to burn.

Investigators are still trying to positively identify the woman that died in the fire, but family and neighbors say they already know it's their loved one.

George Brent and his family say they don't need an official autopsy to know they lost their sister, Jackie Anderson.

"I couldn't believe it," Brent said. "I still can't believe it because she hasn't been positively identified. It's something very hard to take in when you lose a loved one like that."

Anderson was inside a vacant house on Richmond's north side Sunday when police say Hampton set it on fire.

What Anderson was doing inside this house is still unclear. Family and neighbors say a man named Keith Blow slept in this home and Anderson was probably spending time with him.

Blow is the same man named in the suspect's arrest warrant. The warrant says Hampton threatened to burn down the vacant house where he typically slept.

"I was devastated, totally devastated," Brent said. "I mean (the house) was torched bad."

Anderson's family say Blow escaped out a window, but Anderson never made it out. They describe her as a kind, out-going woman that in recent years had health problems.

"She just used to walk the streets and meet friends and hang out with friends and hang out with her family," he said.

Now the Brent's anxiously wait for word from police on what happened. They say they hope details of this fire will help bring them closure.

"It's very sad just not knowing what really happened," he said. "Dying in a fire is just very tragic. I just keep going back and forth in my mind what she was going through in her last minute."

Hampton could face more charges. A search warrant for the home was issued to look for any evidence of murder.

Right now investigators are only calling Anderson's death "suspicious".

If you have any information about this fire, you're asked to call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or text your tip to 274637. Simply put the word "I-tip" at the beginning of your text.

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