The fire that claimed one victim early Christmas morning is being investigated as a homicide.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tim Zarzecki confirmed Wednesday that the victim is a young adult female and that she was probably murdered.
"We are actively investigating this case as a homicide," he told Patch in a phone interview. "We have been able to tentatively identify her as a younger adult female, possibly in her twenties."
South Shore Fire responded after midnight Christmas morning to a call about a house on fire in the 5500 block of 16th Street. After they had the flames under control and nearly extinguished, they discovered the body of a single victim in a room on the first floor. Because of extensive injuries, authorities were not at first able to determine if the victim was male or female.
While the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, Zarzecki said it appears the blaze was deliberate. Whether the fire killed the victim or was set to cover her murder remains unclear.
The investigation yielded some information that could lead to her identity, which also lead officers to the homicide determination.
"We may have to use DNA to get a positive ID on the victim, but we are working with information that may help us in the meantime," Zarzecki said.
Neighbors told SSFD the night of the fire that the family who lived in the home moved to Texas a few months ago.
According to a conversation with the homeowners, Zarzecki said that the woman did have their permission to be in the house.
Police are looking at a person of interest, but Zarzecki would not comment further on that part of the investigation.
Patch will continue to update this story as details become available.