UPDATE: Victim identified, 2 remain in custody

UPDATE: Victim identified, 2 remain in custody
Lori Jones
Scene on D Street
Scene on D Street
Nettie Lewis
Nettie Lewis


Officials have released the identity of the victim in a June 13 homicide in the city of Columbia.

According to Columbia Police Chief Mike Cooper, the body found inside the burned home on D Street has been identified as Tarah Daniel, 51.

The cause of death has not been determined, and those results are expected to come from the State Crime Lab at a later date.

Previous charges and bond set:

A Columbia woman charged with murder and arson in a weekend homicide in the City of Columbia made her initial appearance Wednesday morning.

Lori Michelle Jones, 24, was charged with murder and arson in connection to a Saturday homicide that occurred on D Street in the city.

Jones' bond was set at $1,050,000 on the two charges. Jones was originally charged with two counts of arson, but was only formally charged with one count, in connection to the fire at the D Street home.

Another fire on Loftin Street prompted investigators to charge Jones with another count of arson, but at this time, the investigation is still ongoing, and other charges could be added to one, or both suspects that are in custody.

The first suspect, Nettie Lewis, 23, is behind bars and also faces murder and arson charges with a $1,050,000 bond.

According to Columbia Police Chief Mike Cooper, the autopsy of the victim has not yet been completed, and the State Crime Lab is still in the process of completing DNA reports as a part of the investigation, to positively identify the body.

The Scene:

Cooper said the body of a woman was discovered after firefighters extinguished a fire at 701 D Street in Columbia Saturday around 11 a.m.

Fire officials stated when they arrived on scene, shortly after clearing the scene of another fire in the 1200 block of Loftin Street; the brick house was engulfed in flames.

"The time that firefighters were on scene battling the fire, an officer was at the local hospital taking a report and he received information about a possible body in a home on D Street," said Cooper.

"We have not ruled out that the other fire is not also connected to the crime on D Street," said Cooper.

Lewis, who was at the hospital to be treated for minor injuries to her hands, that she allegedly received while at the home on D Street, was questioned by investigators, and taken into custody after she received medical attention.

"When firefighters got the scene under control, and they were able to enter the home, they discovered a body inside the residence, which matched things that Lewis stated," said Cooper. "Other evidence in the case has been collected at other locations, but we are still piecing together the puzzle at this time."

The investigation has been a combined effort between the Columbia Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

Cooper added the investigation is still ongoing at this time, and more details are developing and coming to light.

The cause and manner of death is not being released at this time, pending full results, and DNA tests from the State Crime Lab.