Suspect identified in Florence stabbing, possible arson

Scene of stabbing and arson (Source: WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring)
Scene of stabbing and arson (Source: WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring)
Florence Crime Scene Technicians collect evidence (Source: WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring)
Florence Crime Scene Technicians collect evidence (Source: WMBF News Reporter Brandon Herring)
Deonte Nathaniel Williams (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Deonte Nathaniel Williams (Source: Florence County Detention Center)
Deonte Nathaniel Williams (Source: Florence PD)
Deonte Nathaniel Williams (Source: Florence PD)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – The Florence Police Department is investigating what a second homicide in two days in the City, and now officers say they have a suspect.

Chief Anson Shells with the Florence Police Department, said officers along with the Florence Fire Department responded to a home along Stackley Street in reference to a fire around 6:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Upon arrival, the home was on fire. After units were able to extinguish the fire, the body of a female victim was found, the victim of a stabbing.

Florence County Coroner Bubba Matthews identified the victim as 44-year-old Miriam Burgess.

Major Carlos Raines, spokesman for the Florence Police Department, said Deonte Nathaniel Williams, 26, is now wanted in connection to the beating and stabbing death of Burgess.

"It's a very horrific crime, and we're asking that all the people who live out in that area use caution because we don't know what we're dealing with right now," Shells said.

Upon further investigation, Shells said the fire may have been set intentionally to perhaps cover up the crime. However, officers cannot say that with certainty at this time.

"That would be speculation at this point, but it would be reasonable speculation because people do it all the time," Shells said.

Investigators were able to collect evidence from within the home because the fire did not destroy it. Nonetheless, Shells said his department also needs help from anyone with information about the crime.

Shells also pointed out that this apparent murder comes as a particular shock because it comes less that 24 hours after a fatal shooting at Rick's Pawn Shop in Florence. The city of Florence averages about five murders a year, Shells said, but last year there were only two in the city.

"Here we are in April and we've had two back to back. I hope this isn't the beginning of a trend,"Shells said.

Williams is described as a black male standing 5'8" and weighing 135 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Williams is asked to contact the Florence Police Department.

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